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Bloc Party, ‘A Weekend in the City’ (Vice)

Last fall, when this London quartet announced they were going on tour with emo hatchlings Panic! At the Disco (they later had to cancel), loyal Blocheads around the world cried foul: What could these anguished art rockers possibly have in common with a bunch of overtheatrical mopes?

As it turns out, plenty. While 2005’s Silent Alarm may not have been emo, it was cut with taut, icy-cool punk that was sexy as hell, full of forbidden glances, panging lust, and heart-beating-out-of-its-chest anticipation. It was the sound of an actual panic at the disco.

A Weekend in the City concerns the comedown, when the clubs empty out at dusk and the kids are out fending for themselves. “I love you in the morning, when you’re still strung out,” Kele Okereke swoons on “Sunday,” one of the several unapologetically emotive lines on Weekend. “Sunday” perhaps best demonstrates why Bloc Party’s connection with its audience is so deeply entrenched: They’re one of the few acts that can write a song about a hangover that will also sound great during a hangover.

But “Sunday” also summarizes the musical frustrations that abound on Weekend: While it has a beautifully ascending chorus and a cracking, spare drumbeat, so does every other song on the album. In fact, not since U2 built an Atomic Bomb has one band tried so hard to turn each track into a breathless epic. Sometimes it works, as with the corkscrew-guitar rave-up “Hunting for Witches” and the lovely, insomnious ballad “Kreuzberg.” Too often, though, Weekend meshes together a little too seamlessly.

Now Hear This: Bloc Party – “A Weekend in the City” STREAMING MP3

>> Listen to Bloc Party on Napster