Kele Okereke, the voice and face of indie-rockers Bloc Party, had shed his band members (I hope temporarily) to stride into the electronic dance scene which is growing in popularity at a startling rate.
Such is the nature of Bloc Party and in particular, their frontman, that one expects the unexpected and in this sense The Boxer does not disappoint. However, the two ways in which this album supplies the unexpected unfortunately contradict. The tracks are unique and challenging but ultimately it is an album which does not live up to the high expectation Kele has set himself since being surrounded by Russell Lissack, Gordon Moakes and Matt Tong.
Bloc Partyâ€™s last major offering, One More Chance, gave us a little glimpse of the musical path Kele was on and The Boxer has delved into electronic dance headfirst but sadly, this album does not match the quality that One More Chance hinted at.
It is an album which heavily focuses upon, and attempts to utilise, Okerekeâ€™s hypnotic, charming voice and whilst for some of the tracks this is easily enough, the album as a whole suffers as the frontmanâ€™s voice doesnâ€™t get the musical support it needs.
As with most things, there are exceptions to any rule. I adore Tenderoni, which is certainly the standout track allowing Keleâ€™s emotive voice to really shine with a slow and quiet build-up before exploding into life alongside a truly infectious beat. Notable mentions must also go to Walk Tall and Everything You Wanted.
As debut albums go, it is a decent offering but with Keleâ€™s Bloc Party past, the bar has been set very high and this album doesnâ€™t quite hit the heights I was expecting. That being said, it is an innovative, confident album and Iâ€™m glad that Bloc Partyâ€™s sabbatical has not affected Keleâ€™s drive or involvement in producing music.
01. Walk Tall (03.45)*
02. On The Lam (03.33)
03. Tenderoni (04.30)*
04. The Other Side (03.52)
05. Everything You Wanted (03.49)*
06. The New Rules (03.55)
07. Unholy Thoughts (02.55)
08. Rise (05.11) *
09. All The Things I Could Never Say (05.32)
10. Yesterday’s Gone (04.07)
01. Kele – Walk Tall
05.Â Kele – Everything You Wanted