Recordings: Bloc Party – A Weekend in the City

    Listening to David Bowie is good for you – at least if you’re Bloc Party. The Brits’ second album, inspired by Bowie’s back catalogue, adapts the glam rocker’s chameleonic abilities to morph their debut’s jarring guitars and synthesized shouts into a softer, more technical affair.

    First and foremost, frontman Kele Okereke develops much-needed lyrical depth. His plaintive Liverpool accent is layered over electrified riffs in a brutal love affair with the city of London, relaying the city’s terrorist woes in “”Hunting for Witches,”” then decrying it as a vampire in “”Song for Clay (Disappear Here.)”” Like the androgynous Bowie, Okereke also explores sexuality – most literally in songs like “”I Still Remember,”” which sprinkles a typical love ballad with hints of homosexuality: “”I kept your tie/ I would let you if you asked me.””

    Eighties reminiscence in motion, Okereke follows the gradual descent of his beloved city. “”Waiting for the 7:18″” decries his friends’ collapse into the everyday grind of living for the next paycheck – “”Let’s go to Brighton on the weekend!”” he moans, capturing the gloom of postcollege apathy. Unlike Silent Alarm’s broad nostalgia, Bloc Party’s latest manages to narrow the focus with drug-fueled fantasies and zinging guitar riffs, tugging us through a Bowie ghost town of empty pubs and neon lights.

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