on 12 February 2007
Before I start to review this outstanding album, I wish to make it clear that AWITC is a different album completely.
'Song For Clay (Disappear Here)' is the opener, and it is one of the best tracks BP have written. It starts quietly, and some catchy drum loops come in, with some guitaring reminiscent of U2. That might possibly be Garrett 'Jacknife' Lee's influence after he worked with U2 on their previous album. It's an impeccable start to an impeccable album. The sound is unmistakeably Bloc Party but with a slight twist, and a rockier edge. 10/10.
'Hunting For Witches', track two, is a likely release, with its catchy riff and drum loops. The lyrics are topical on recent events, reflecting on the 7/7 London bombings. The sound is a cleaner, more refined one than on 'Silent Alarm', but that is only because Lee has maybe emphasised more of a guitar influence than an electronic one seen on their debut. 10/10.
Track three, 'Waiting For The 7:18', is a slower one, but one thing BP have developed on this album is more of an anthemic sound. Kele Okereke's lyrics are better than ever, highly intelligent songwriting. The drumming is as good as ever, and one significant improvement over 'Silent Alarm' is the backing vocals. Brilliant music. 10/10.
Track four is the first release off this album, called 'The Prayer'. It really does start in an interesting fashion. The drums/claps are unorthodox but catchy, and the backing vocals are imposing yet unassuming. The chorus will be a future classic. Fact. 'Tonight make me unstoppable, and I will try, I will slice, I will dazzle, I will outshine them all.' Okereke sings confidently. 10/10.
Track five, 'Uniform', is BP's longest song to date, but more importantly, it's their best. By a country mile. Lyrically it's impeccable. Musically, it's magical. There are three parts to this song. There's a relatively quiet first part, which opens up into an up-tempo part and it finishes by slowing down. Needless to say, the second part is the best of them. A catchy drum loop, combined with a punchy bass line and a great guitar bit to follow. Brilliant. 10/10.
Track six, 'On', is a slower track. 'You make my tongue loose' is the standout line that Okereke sings here. Of course, there is more to this song than that. But that stands out, more than anything. Musically, this track is first-rate. Anthemic, and a definite crowd pleaser in festivals and gigs. More than anything, this track demonstrates Okereke's ability as a songwriter. 9/10.
Track seven, 'Where Is Home?' is a track about Okereke's upbringing and his personal battle against racism. Thoughtful lyrics, and that's what this song is about more than anything else. Musically, it is probably the weakest track, but lyrically, it stands head and shoulders above all the others. Brilliant. 9/10.
Track eight, 'Kreuzberg', is another long song. It's a beautiful track, probably the most pleasant on the ear on the whole album. The guitaring is excellent, and it's the most prominent U2 influence on the whole of the album, in all honesty. Anthemic, epic, glorious. A very close second best on this album. A definite 10/10.
Track nine, 'I Still Remember', is the band's second release off this album. Excellent lyrics. Excellent music. More than likely a reminiscing of Okereke's childhood memories. The guitars create a bigger sound (Lee's influence, I don't know, but quite possibly), and it's a good thing. Glorious. 10/10.
Track ten, 'Sunday', quite possibly, has some of the best lyrics on the album. 'I love you in the morning, when you're still hungover'.Pure genius. However, the song is equally as good. The drums are ready to be accompanied by a big sound. What they get are some keys, and some guitars to follow. A mature sound, a clever sound. Apart from that, it's quite a dreamy, hazy track. Perfect placement on the album, putting it as the penultimate track. 9/10.
Track eleven, and the final track, 'SRXT', is a slow-burner. Although unsure what 'SRXT' exactly stands for, it makes no difference as it is a top tune. It seems to be some sort of lullaby while listening to the lyrics. The last two lines are touching: 'Tell my mother I am sorry and I loved her'. A lovely track, and merits 9/10.
So, this album is no 'Silent Alarm'. It's completely different, and for those expecting 'Silent Alarm II', you will be disappointed. This is still Bloc Party but on a bigger and a better scale. Jacknife Lee has helped transform their direction into an anthemic combination of riffs and urban drum loops, combined with strings. The vocals are excellent and the songwriting is brilliant- it grabs your heart and pulls you towards its feelings. This is an essential album, not just of 2007, but it's an album you need in your life. 'Silent Alarm' set the standards high. 'A Weekend In The City' has just smashed them. Highly recommended.