Bloc Party

From an album whose singles intro'd pretty much any MTV or VH1 show, Bloc Party has officially matured out of the vague-means-accessible indie-dance-punk amalgam of Silent Alarm into a brilliant discussion of urban kid confusion on Weekend in the City. Kele Okereke bravely waves his flag of schoolboy crush in "I Still Remember," tackles weekend drudgery with "On" and racially motivated violence in the heartbreaking "Where Is Home?" Dance beats still flirt throughout the album (especially on "Hunting for Witches"), but impassioned, sometimes searing and more rock-oriented guitar lines balance Okereke's distinctive, plaintive vocals, while backing harmonies and chanting elements play to the occasional religious imagery in his lyrics ("Uniform" and others). Weekend's first single "The Prayer" is safely the most driving song, practically asking for a remix or 20 in the next two weeks. It and "Song for Clay (Disappear Here)" still hold most of the Britpop pretension that was evident on Silent Alarm, but on the whole, Bloc Party seems to have parlayed some of their attitude into mindfulness, composure and an album that, despite its seemingly depressive topics, holds within it an inkling of hope...provided listeners pay attention.


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