Album: Bloc Party

A Weekend in the City, WICHITA
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Oh dear. Rarely in recent years has the curse of the Difficult Second Album struck quite as devastatingly as it does here, wiping away the promise borne by Bloc Party's Silent Alarm. A large part of the blame attaches to Kele Okereke's lyrical slant, which offers vignettes of day-to-day life in the big city. As with the duller hip-hop artists, the obsession with "keeping it real" condemns A Weekend in the City to the mundane and quotidian - and given Okereke's glum attitude, that's a dismal prospect indeed. "East London is a vampire/ It sucks the joy right out of me," he warns in the opening "Song for Clay", and he's not joking. And when he tires of fretting over the UK's social landscape, a trip to Berlin in "Kreuzberg" proves no more rewarding, offering a hackneyed taste of 1980s alienation through another lazy psychogeographic metaphor: "There is a wall which runs through me like the one through this city." Musically, alas, the album is simply moribund, with some intriguing intro strategies quickly abandoned in favour of yet more spiky guitar pop lacking wit and melodic grace. A grim affair.

DOWNLOAD THIS: "Hunting for Witches"