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Bloc Party 

A Weekend in the City (Vice Music)

From an album whose singles intro'd pretty much every MTV and VH1 show, Bloc Party has officially matured out of the vague-means-accessible indie-dance-punk of Silent Alarm and into a brilliant discussion of urban-kid confusion on A Weekend in the City. Kele Okereke bravely waves his flag of schoolboy crush in "I Still Remember," tackles weekend drudgery with "On," and addresses racially motivated violence in the heartbreaking "Where Is Home?" Dance beats still litter the album, but impassioned and searing rock-oriented guitar lines balance Okereke's distinctive, plaintive vocals, while backing harmonies and chanting elements play up the occasional religious imagery ("Uniform").

Weekend's first single, "The Prayer," is the most driving song on the album, 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 its 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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