9. SRXT - Bloc Party (A Weekend In The City, 2007)
Of all the early-noughties bands that NME tipped (or should that be hyped?) for greatness, Bloc Party were the most insular and introverted of the lot. Possessing the most revered rhythm section since Mani and Reni in Gordon Moakes and Matt Tong, the London bands post-9/11 apathy, suspicion and urgency was presented in dense and funky sound scapes. Silent Alarm, the LP that propelled them into the popular consciousness, alternates between ruminations on the personal and the political, often providing a fusion of both, as lyricist and singer, Kele Okereke, struggles to comprehend the frenetic pace and confusing nature of the modern world.
Despite Silent Alarm being lavished with praise by critics who empathised with the bands brand of cold melancholia and detachment, Bloc Party became victims of the dreaded difficult second album syndrome. Their debuts 2007 follow-up, A Weekend in the City, whilst not greeted with universal panning, was chastised for not being quite as good as its predecessor. In fact, Okerekes explorations of confidence-enhancing drug experimentation on On, Where Is Homes study of institutional racism and the disaffected, self-destructive and emotionally-sapped individuals of Song For Clay make the album as essential and praiseworthy as Silent Alarm.
The despair that permeates the album manifests itself in an alarming manner in closer, SRXT. The songs title is a shortened version of Seroxat, an anti-depressant, betraying its contents fixation with depression and suicide. The narrators bid to end his life is motivated by being over-privileged and having the world at his finger-tips but its verses can also be read as more symbolic than literal, and are perhaps Okerekes statement of the vacuity and pointlessness of a life that has drowned in materialism. His insistence on deploying words that connote nature (summer, countryside and acoustic) belies his dissatisfaction with a society in thrall to technology, a 2007 update of Ok Computers main preoccupations.
As always, Bloc Party weather the soft-loud dynamic expertly, as organic instrumentation kicks off the track before it escalates into grandiose solos and drum-smashing majesty. An affecting presentation of an alienated character and a sensitive exploration of what it means to exist, peppered with distressing references to Kele's own dad, 'Eugene' and a closing reuest to 'tell my mother I am sorry and I loved her.'
A 22 year old English Literature graduate from Birmingham. I am passionate about music, literature and football, in particular, my beloved Aston Villa. Lover of words and consumer of art, music is the very air that I breathe.