March 8, 2007

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Bloc Party, Weekend in the City
Vice Records, 2007

Goodness, look who’s grown up, and how generous of them to leave the blunt pop-hook smiting of heads to Franz Ferdinand (who got them signed in the first place) and wrap their heads around the dark side of peoplehood instead. Singer Kele Okereke still sounds like a refugee from the Fixx but his heart’s open to that nowadays, summoning up all sorts of soberly cockeyed professionalism for the band’s 12-round bout with the sophomore jinx. Once more, the mushy, ethereal whack at Joy Division-style hit-mongering is way back in the track list, “Sunday” taking up the challenge of being the next “So Here We Are,” but it fits a lot better within this context, where we’re poring over Marlboro-huffing subjects like information overload (“Hunting For Witches”) and rotten old casual sex (“Kreuzberg”). The mood, then, has changed drastically from Silent Alarm’s celebration over their Making It; it’s almost as though they feel guilty about their success, with all the middle-class hopelessness they gloom about. Musically solid, there’s still a healthy amount of full-bore recklessness carried over from so long ago, when they were skinny confused 23-year-olds instead of skinny confused 25-year-olds, and oh look, there’s even a mini drum and bass rinse-out on “Waiting For the 7:18.” B+ Eric W. Saeger