ACL Fest Sunday Reviews

ACL Fest Sunday Reviews

Bloc Party

A Weekend in the City (Vice)

Where Bloc Party's 2005 debut, Silent Alarm, was a slice of raw, untamed arthouse energy, the London quartet's follow-up offers a more polished effort, albeit shaped by a palpable tension informed by a troubled, liminal existence. The explosive, electroclash guitars form a menacing tsunami of sound, the rhythm pacing back and forth like a predator preparing to strike. Meanwhile, singer Kele Okereke delivers a narrative of life in England and all its concomitant discontents. "Waiting for the 7.18" speaks to the emptiness of urban existence and the wanderlust that emerges to fill that unnameable void. "Let's drive to Brighton on the weekend," Okereke sings, referring to the coastal resort town considered in Regency times to have beneficial effects on one's mental and emotional health. "Where Is Home?" serves up an account of the painful second-generation existence of postcolonial Britain. Here Okereke seethes with anger at his not-quite-ness as a British subject, fantasizing about committing acts commensurate with the cultural inequality he experiences. Closer, "Srxt," is an eerie, beautiful, first-person narrative of a broken man who's decided to disappear, the guitars shimmering with empathic glory before fading out into a final, plinking xylophone. It's haunting, gorgeous, and depressing. Like life. (4:30pm, AT&T stage)

***.5

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