December 24, 2006

2007 Previews: Bloc Party

British post-punkers Bloc Party will release their next album, the follow-up to their critically praised 2005 debut "Silent Alarm," on February 6. "A Weekend in the City" is led by the brand new single "The Prayer," which is already getting airplay in their native Great Britain. In describing the upcoming album, MTV clues us in on how the band is moving forward but with no less musical or lyrical complexity:

Over glitchy vocal samples, piston-like drums, swooning synths and prickly guitars, Okereke weaves 11 tales of big-city life, darting between overly lonely narratives about dead-eyed teens, morning commuters, business executives and coked-up clubgoers, while capturing both the fleeting moments of beauty and soul-wrenching nights of desperation that come with 21st-century living in a faceless, unforgiving metropolis.

"A lot of the ideas for these songs came to me whilst we were touring last year, and I was coming back to the U.K. intermittently and seeing friends that I was at university with," the singer/guitarist explained. "They're all working, all commuting, all getting drunk on the weekend. And no one seemed to be particularly happy. Everyone I spoke to seemed to have this real sort of incongruity between what they thought life was going to be and what life actually was. And I wanted to capture that real sense of optimism fading against the grind and routine of everyday life. It's about getting lots and lots of different perspectives; all the songs are different voices: a teenager, a commuter, an executive type — all these snapshots of people that paint one large picture.
And Bloc Party certainly have had a bustling go of it in the last few years, following "Silent Alarm" with a remix album and several EP's, which included the release of last year's hit "Two More Years". They were also originally a part of the, "Nothing Rhymes with Circus" tour headlined by the pop-punk darlings Panic! at the Disco. Drummer Matt Tong's health brought a quick end to that venture, forcing Bloc Party to cancel the rest of their dates on the trek. But the quartet has regrouped and will begin an overseas tour next month that runs through the middle of March.

As for "The Prayer," it begins with a deep intoning chant which serves to evoke the spiritual undertones of the title, and sets up lead singer Kele Okereke's unrestrained vocals as Tong's drums dutifully play along. Moments later the noise-rock grooves reminiscent of "Silent Alarm" pound in, layering in the second tier of the band's signature multi-layered sound. By the time the chorus arrives, the aesthetic dissonance of guitarist Russel Lissack's chopping guitars moves into a 'synthier' sound and Okereke's insistent harmonics raise the urgency and immediacy of his message:
Tonight make me a unstoppable
I will charm, I will slice,
I will dazzle them with my wit
Tonight make me a unstoppable
And I will charm, I will slice
I will dazzle I will outshine all
(lyrics courtesy of

You can listen to and watch the reality bending video for the single: The Prayer - Official Video at YouTube.

Alternatively, you can listen to the track (minus the video) at the official Bloc Party MySpace page.

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