Bloc Party Frontman Announces Debut Solo Effort
With the release of their debut, Silent Alarm, in 2005, Bloc Party were one of the 00's most important British bands, driven by Kele's amazing voice and incredible songwriting. When the band decided to take a hiatus after five straight years of touring, Kele had originally intended to walk away from music for a year. But when downtime presented itself, he found his creative impulses were too strong, and ended up booking himself some exploratory time in a recording studio on a whim. Alone with an engineer, he gravitated towards new instruments, hardly ever picking up the guitar. "I plugged in synths with no idea what they would do. I began programming drum beats, which I had never done before. It was completely back to the drawing board. It was exciting and terrifying. In most cases, I sat down, pulled a drum beat out of nowhere, and arranged stuff around that. It was as exciting to me as the first time I picked up a guitar."
Continuing with some of the sounds that had begun to permeate newer Bloc Party tracks – the brittle drum breaks of "The Prayer," the buzzsaw snare whirs of "One Month Off" – Kele strove to make the sounds of his new compositions as raw as possible. "The key for the sound of the record was to take things as harsh and as physical as I could make them. These are the sounds that make me happiest in the world," he says. By the time he had written the freeform, cascading techno meltdown that constituted the second half of the song "Rise," he had an emotional blueprint for what would become this, his first solo record, The Boxer.
Kele found his natural ally recording in New York with XXXchange, the Brooklyn-based bedroom production prodigy that crafted the sound of the last Spank Rock record. Melting the distinctions between dance music and cerebral pop, with influences ranging from Gary Numan and Adam Ant to Michael Jackson and Bjork, Kele has made a wild and fearless album marked by both its ambition and its sense of the new.
The album's first single, "Tenderoni," is a perfect example of The Boxer's complex prowess: a dark clipping synth propelled by a dance beat and metallic percussion catches fire with the introduction of Kele's signature melody on the chorus, his voice sounding more powerful than ever before. "Everything You Wanted," with a snaking bass line, pulsing piano and its plaintive "I could have given you everything you wanted, everything you needed" chorus shows Kele at his most vulnerable and revealed, while "Other Side" matches a Dancehall beat with a sweetly chugging guitar, clanging percussion and rhythmic chants. "On the Lam" is a bona fide club hit, and closing track "Yesterday's Gone" is a Kele love song at its finest, with a chorus claiming, "These days are golden."
Indeed, with The Boxer, Kele has clearly begun an incredible new chapter of his already esteemed career. Kele is confirmed to appear at a number of major festivals in his native UK this summer, with Stateside dates to be announced soon.
Details of all live dates are available from Kele's website www.iamkele.com
The Boxer: Track Listing
On The Lam
The Other Side
Everything You Wanted
All The Things I Could Never Say