I like first albums. In fact, I love them. They represent years of pent-up emotions and pure creativity coming through; songs that have been in someone’s heart – and head- for a long time and finally released. And I loved Bloc Party's first album. But then comes the dreaded repeater, the sophomore edition of the band, the second year. Sometimes, it works…sometimes it doesn’t. And sometimes you get an OK effort when you expected better. Bands make or break here; more true now than decades ago.
But sometimes you get an evolved effort, one that doesn’t trod the same treadmill as before but has opted for a newer way to run. Didn’t Green Day do this with American Idiot? Bloc Party fans, welcome to A Weekend in the City. And it pains me to write this less than lacklustre review of a band with high hopes.
The 2nd album from Bloc Party, whose Silent Alarm had fans snared from the beginning song, “Like Eating Glass,” is a bit underwhelming at first listen. It begins with “Song For Clay (Disappear Here)” with its subtle intro before it opens the gates on the music. Formed around the rigors of life in a city full of people with no soul, (making this a concept album), A Weekend in the City does not extend from its musically high-powered debut. Instead, it is a new Bloc Party.
Silent Alarm has gone down as one of 2005’s best efforts. Will 2007 remember A Weekend in the City as fondly? Likely not. Silent Alarm is funky, fast-paced, and memorably performed. A Weekend in the City is not Silent Alarm, but it didn’t set out to be. Instead, Bloc Party has created a work that needs to be grown into. While A Weekend in the City is an advanced work, fans may not be ready for this.
I don't think that A Weekend in the City is to be dismissed because it does not carry the weight that its predecessor did. For the now, you have to consider A Weekend in the City a new first effort. I just wish that they kept the ball rolling because that ball was already great.