‘Weekend in the City’ worth a listen or two

Bloc Party

“Weekend in the City”

3.5 out of 5 stars

It has been two years since the release of Bloc Party’s debut album “Silent Alarm,” and in that time the band has made quite a name for themselves with a strong reputation as a live touring act and strong album sales.

I would bet that at least 70 percent of people reading this right now are familiar with the band in some way. This new album from the Brits, the follow up to their 2005 debut, comes as one of the most highly anticipated releases of the year.

The first time I listened to this thing from start to finish, I was skeptical of the final product, and that’s putting it lightly.

This is a much darker and far more introspective collection of songs than the previous LP. With nothing as bouncy or immediate as songs like “Banquet” or “Like Eating Glass,” some listeners will certainly be turned away.

But when you dig deeper, the true character of the album begins to emerge. The songs are a bit more personal this time around and the song writing is more complex. Plus, the production work of Garrett “Jacknife” Lee (yes I know, it’s a great name) adds an extra dimension of basic electronic detailing and sonic washes that wasn’t present on “Silent Alarm.”

When you add everything up, I still like “Silent Alarm” better as a complete album, but this sophomore effort is a more-than-worthy progression for Bloc Party.

Key Tracks: “I Still Remember,” “Hunting for Witches,” “Waiting for the 7.18”

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

“Some Loud Thunder”

1 out of 5 stars

Hipsters across the country have been raving about these guys for the past year-and-a-half now, and it’s easy to see why.

With their artsy-indie rock and guitar-heavy melodies, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah was proclaimed by some to be the next Talking Heads and was quickly assimilated into the culture of indie bands who find their recognition rising exponentially (Wolf Parade, Tapes N’ Tapes, Broken Social Scene, the Arcade Fire, etc.).

But here we are in 2007, with its new album hitting stores across the country and . it stinks. It takes things a step in the wrong direction from its debut.

The songs just aren’t all that engaging, the guitars are ultra-arty to the point of becoming annoying and the production is awful.

They even hired producer Dave Fridmann, who has done work for the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev, among others, and the album is still awful.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah has become the type of band who increases my disdain for both modern indie rock and hipsters alike.

Key Tracks: Don’t bother.