2007, retrospectively, was a fantastic year for indie music. Fast forward 10 years and plenty has changed, the bands that we massively adored have fallen apart or taken a different musical direction, the way we consume music has changed and generally the type of music that permeates through everyday life is almost unrecognisable in comparison.
So, with all this change, why is the band’s discontent toward London, terrorism, the media and racism perhaps even more relatable today than it was a whole 10 years ago?!
Looking at the album in a strictly Bloc Party sense, it’s undeniable one of their best efforts. Despite being leaked three months before it’s release date, the impact it had wasn’t disparaged all that much. Critics claimed that it ‘drowned in big ideas’, an understandable statement as the album definitely has plenty of big ideas… but it by no means drowns.
A Weekend In The City saw them take the sound that won hearts from their first album Silent Alarm, polish it and add an unignorable layer of intimacy that at times is uncomfortably honest. Adding electronic elements that highlighted the band’s growth, most noticeable in ‘Flux’, included in the re-release of the album, which saw them reach no. 8 in the UK singles chart, making it their fourth most successful track to date behind album mate ‘The Prayer’ and Silent Alarm’s ‘So Here We Are’ and ‘Two More Years’.
Their discontent toward London brought to the surface after the band had been away on tour, come back and realised that London wasn’t really changing, there’s a massive us vs them feel in the expressed attitude of the rich and poor throughout the album, and with London becoming increasingly too expensive to live there as each day goes by, it’s fair to say not much has changed since the sounds of ‘Waiting for the 7:18’.
Frontman Kele claims that he “wanted (A Weekend In The City) to be a snapshot, a frozen moment in time” little did he know that that moment in time would surpass the following decade.
Likewise, the political connotations of ‘Hunting For Witches’, which sees the band comment on the media’s reaction to certain terrorist attacks and subsequently their control over the public through fear mongering, has never been more relevant than over the past 12 months.
On a more positive note, tracks ‘Sunday’ and ‘I Still Remember’ are the hidden gems of this sophomore effort, showing Bloc Party at their simultaneously most vulnerable and brave. Both are progressively uplifting, allowing hope to shine through even the most dismal of subject matter.
‘Where Is Home’, possibly the band’s most wistful track to date tells the tale of a grieving mother. The anger that Kele so apparently feels is palpable throughout each and every second and it’s arguably one of the most intimate, enthralling and striking tracks of semi-recent times; inspired by Christopher Alaneme’s story, a British black teenager who was stabbed to death in 2006.
This album saw Bloc Party take a stand against many injustices, an album that no doubt saw the band grow and mature both as a musical outlet and as individuals and it, rightly so, cemented them as one of the go-to bands in the hall of indie greats.
Nowadays, the band have got a partially different line up, a starkly different musical sound – apart from Kele’s unique vocals of course – and after release of their fifth studio album Hymns last year, most recently released new track ‘Stunt Queen’, the first track to be both written and performed by original members Kele Okereke and Russell Lissack and new members Justin Harris and Louise Bartle, they’ve also promised live shows this year.