By now you probably know the score, A Weekend In The City is not a straight re-hash of Bloc Party's debut album, Silent Alarm. Gone is much of the aggression that made tracks such as 'Positive Tension' so enjoyable, replaced here with yet another layer of melancholy.
Which isn't to say A Weekend In The City never rocks... Indeed opening track 'Song For Clay (Disappear Here)' hits a wall of guitars in just over a minute. Everything just feels a little softer, a little less edgy and (whisper it) a little more Radio 2.
A Weekend In The City is however by no means a bad album. 'Waiting For The 7:18' is a beautiful piece that can't help but make you feel sorry for yourself... "Just give me moments, not hours or days" pleads lead vocalist Kele Okereke, and it is here that Bloc Party hit their stride once more, with more determination that the first couple of tracks on the album it actually sounds like they have something to say.
Lead single 'The Prayer' still sounds like a call to arms and also manages to escape the blandness that pervades parts of the album. "Give me grace and dancing feet" calls Okereke, obviously aware of the pressures on the band to continue to impress, whilst a tribal beat and chanting chorus provide the backing to create Bloc Party's biggest departure from their standard formula to date.
So overall the sound is softer, there are a lot of strings and a little part of you may feel that in the name of progress Bloc Party are in danger in sacrificing what made then good in the first place. However, there are definite highlights - check out the distorted rhythms and electronics on 'Where Is Home?', the downbeat and less melodramatic yet still emotional 'Kreuzberg' which manages to provide what is perhaps the most emotionally mature cut on the album. 'Sunday' is adoring, cute and forgiving and sounds like a U2 for the younger generation - that probably means BlackPlastic shouldn't like it but does anyway.
A Weekend In The City is an enjoyable album, it is just sadly an enjoyable album that has to be approached in the knowledge that it will also disappoint.