Brit-rock darlings misfire with slick, soul-searching second

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Bloc Party – A Weekend In The City
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From edgy and earnest to puffed-up and precious, working with Snow Patrol producer Jacknife Lee seems to have sterilised Bloc Party – or perhaps all the partying Kele Okereke sings about on this album has numbed his integrity. Either way, A Weekend In The City is a very different beast to the London quartet’s million-selling debut.

This is Okereke’s record – his stories, one assumes. But even the most ardent admirer will struggle to swallow these gauche tales of hipsters gallivanting around East London, looking for kicks in seedy pubs (“On”, “Song For Clay (Disappear Here)”), projecting middle-class guilt. The other three – ostensibly Okereke’s backing band – are on better form.

Guitarist Russell Lissack enchants on “Kreuzberg” and there’s a vaguely daring, Muse-ly electronic approach to indie anthems “The Prayer” and “Waiting For The 7.18”. But still, for an album that strives to articulate the youthful pleasure-rush of love, drugs and power, this is a worryingly pedestrian effort.

PIERS MARTIN