Channelling modern living through song

Releasing one of the most critically acclaimed albums of 2005, itself a stunning introduction to a new and highly interesting and unique band, Bloc Party’s ‘Silent Alarm’ saw them hit the ground running and, well, never really stopping.

The breakneck pace of their schedules mirrored that of their on-stage performances, so one would be forgiven for being a bit shell-shocked when dropped back down to Earth when it was all over. For Kele Okereke, lead singer and songwriter, however, it was an eye opener, a chance to re-evaluate his home turf, his natural habitat, in its warts and all glory. In the process, he sounds like he’s made himself even more of an outsider. “I am trying to be heroic in an age of modernity”, the very first thing you hear on this album, sets the scene; this permeating sense of dislocation throughout, a feeling of being on the outside looking in (or vice versa). ‘A Weekend…’ is his observations, his notes on life in a metropolis. It channels his reasoning of modern living through 11 intense songs, from the post 7/7 community divisions in ‘Hunting For Witches’, racial murders in ‘Where Is Home?’, pub culture, after-club culture and hangovers (‘Sunday’), it’s a stark reminder of how stimulating and provocative the world around us really is. Behind Kele’s unaffected vocals on ‘A Weekend…’ looms the menacing wall of sound of Bloc Party; Russell’s chiming guitar, Gordon’s strapping bass, and Matt’s staunch drumming. Combined they can be frenzied and funky (‘The Prayer’) or gloriously mesmerizing (the magnificent closer ‘SXRT’), but always sounding BIG (but thankfully not in a U2 way) – the true mark of an extrasensory band. Challenging, penetrating and highly electrifying, this is a remarkable return from a band destined to impress, and a definite early contender for Album of the Year.