Album: Kele, The Boxer (Wichita)
The Bloc Party is over but Kele comes out fighting
Sunday 20 June 2010
It takes some Cojones to do what Kele Okereke is doing.
Right at the point where the, when all's said and done, just-above-average Bloc Party had reached arena-filling, festival-headlining status, he's slammed the brakes on that runaway juggernaut, stepped out of the cab and quietly walked across the fields in a completely different direction.
The glorious Armand Van Helden remix of Bloc Party's "Signs" was arguably a foreshadowing, and with his debut solo album, Okereke – who says he's "sick of indie music" (join the club, pal) – has thrown himself into the deep end of dance culture. It's as if Kele actually wants to hear his own music in the clubs he frequents, not just token remixes thereof.
Opener "Walk Tall" is a faux-military marching chant given a hardcore rave mangling. "On the Lam" is a nifty slice of subtle house-pop à la Robyn's "With Every Heartbeat", with intriguing folie d'amour lyrics ("I've suddenly flipped out/ And I'm hiring a detective to find out where I've been... ."). The single "Tenderoni" (not a Chromeo cover, although the shared title might be another clue to Kele's recent listening) is clichéd clubland fare – you know exactly where the sudden dips and the big kickbacks are gonna come – but not a bad example thereof. "The Other Side", an Afropop/glitchcore, is what Talking Heads might sound like if they'd emerged in 2007, not 1977.
The tempo subsides on "Everything You Wanted", a break-up song which has Kele emoting "I can see the bags in the empty hallway..." over twink- ling pianos. The nocturnal confessional "Unholy Thoughts", a tale of meeting a "devil" at an aftershow, getting in a cab, doing coke and so on, is the only track that might have been swept up off Bloc Party's studio floor. The xylophone-spangled "Rise" is another motivational message – surely directed at himself as much as anyone else – while "All the Things I Could Never Say" is undeniably a relationship song, its title is all too tempting to read as an over-arching umbrella for this entire record: he's expressing here what he couldn't in Bloc Party.
If that band ever do reconvene, they'll sound 10 times better from now on for The Boxer existing. And if they don't, who cares? We've got a brave new pop star.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained star's white boyfriend Brian Lucas confirms LAPD internally investigating 'racist' detainment
- 2 Isis release 'Flames of War' video warning Obama of attacks troops could face in Iraq
- 3 Pakistani passenger power forces two politicians off plane
- 4 Say yes to 'no-poo': It's been three years since I stopped washing my hair
- 5 John Travolta addresses former pilot's gay romance allegations publicly for the first time: 'That was the lowest I'd ever felt'
Robin Thicke admits he did not write 'Blurred Lines'
Colin Firth and Emma Stone on starring in Magic in the Moonlight: Woody Allen's 1920s romance
Doctor Who series 8: Time Heist pictures revealed ahead of episode 5
Pharrell Williams says 'Blurred Lines' criticism is 'out of context'
The Walking Dead season 5 air date, trailer and season 4 recap
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes