Kele – The Boxer

Bloc Party frontman struggles for consistency on debut solo set

A quick glance back over his tenure as lead singer of Bloc Party will tell you that Kele Okereke is not a man who fears change. After thrusting themselves into the national consciousness with their excellent debut Silent Alarm, they took the difficult option with its follow-up, A Weekend In The City.

Kele’s transformation on this occasion is equally (if not more) drastic. Except on The Boxer, his boldness doesn’t pay off half as well. The direction is very much towards the dancefloor – no change there – but with less emphasis on songs. Kele’s courting the electro crowd and occasionally (On The Lam, Rise) it sounds great. Too often, though, it sounds a little ill conceived. The vocals are tired and repetitive; the beats aren’t as polished as they might be. Okereke’s voice always had the potential to grate, and without the propeller-armed Matt Tong behind the drum-kit, it does exactly that.

2/5

Written for The Skinny

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