New Bloc Party doesn’t dissapoint

If you are not a fan of Bloc Party we can assume one of two things. One, you have not heard the toe-tapping rhythms of this East London band. Two, you have no soul. What’s not to love about the group? They release music that punk pioneers such as Joe Strummer would be proud to say they influenced. Bloc Party formed in 2002 and has had a variety of names such as Superheroes of BMX, Angel Range, and Union. The name has been wrongly associated with the former Soviet bloc. The name is actually a variation on “block party.” A block party, for those morons out there, is a neighborhood event in which a local band is usually hired to play. When I first heard that Bloc Party was finally in the studio recording their follow-up to their breakout success of Silent Alarm; I started a countdown of the days until I would have to turn a couple of tricks to buy the CD. Those tricks were hard, but well worth it for this album. The year may be young, but Weekend In the City is a worthy candidate for album of the year. On their debut album, Silent Alarm, the sound was very guitar driven and intense. The intensity so high that I’d suddenly have someone in a headlock without realizing it. With Weekend In the City, it sounds as if the band has taken a step down on the intensity level. The reason for this is that the songs are based more on the voice of the lead singer Kele Okereke, rather than catchy guitar riffs. This is best heard on the song “Waiting for the 7.18.” Okereke’s voice is best described as a velvet hammer. Smooth, yet if needed, it could smash a couple of teeth out of your head. Another good song to listen for Okereke’s voice is “Kreuzberg.” A trademark of Bloc Party is their heavy use of drummer Matt Tong. Even though the band took a little off the top to showcase Okereke’s vocals, Tong still shines through as a master of his craft. He recently suffered a collapsed lung at a show, but was not hampered by this injury. Some fans of Bloc Party might be disappointed with A Weekend In the City. They just need to look at the album as a progression to a more polished sound than what was on Silent Alarm. However, if you are a Bloc Party fan and feel nostalgic for Silent Alarm, the song to listen to on the new album is “The Prayer”. The song has an intro that is familiar to the band’s fans. A build-up of Kele Okereke’s voice that runs right into a chorus that needs to be listened to over and over again. Overall the album is a gem. It would have been better if the level of intensity remained the same from Silent Alarm. However, the increased use of Okereke and the catchy guitar riffs overshadow this fact. Weekend in the City made has made me realize something; I’ve realized that Bloc Party is in fact my favorite band.