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Bloc Party's 'Second-Generation Blues'

When Bloc Party's Kele Okereke sings of the dislocation of modernity from a distinctly British point of view (and accent), it's hard not to hear echoes of Buzzcocks lead singer Pete Shelley. But a mere vocal resemblance isn't enough to dictate the band's direction, which draws more from the rhythmic and sonic experimentation of post-punk.

Besides, Shelley never sang of "the second-generation blues." In "Where Is Home?" from the new A Weekend in the City, Okereke watches as society begins viewing him with suspicion. Any instrument that's not a drum kit or Okereke's voice is almost beside the point: During the verses, guitars and keyboards hang around just for atmosphere when they can be bothered to show up at all.

When they finally amass strength during the chorus, their entrance has the effect of a wrecking ball. It's all visceral impact rather than melodic invention, and soon enough, the focus is back on the drums as they engage in a hyperactive fillip, and on a frustrated Okereke, whose retributive violence exists only in his head. But only for the moment.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Marc Hirsh lives in the Boston area, where he indulges in the magic trinity of improv comedy, competitive adult four square and music journalism. He has won trophies for one of these, but refuses to say which.