Not very impressed to be honest, i love Bloc Party and have seen them live many times so when i heard Kele was going to do a solo album i thought it would be great! After hearing the 1st single from this album i ordered the album, to say i'm disapointed would be an understatement. please hurry up and get back to concentrating on more Bloc party stuff Kele!
That's how Kele answered when he was asked if he'd be re-forming Bloc Party again soon. "I find what I am doing now far more exciting and I've already begun working on my next record."
The truth is, Kele isn't concerned with whether or not you want his solo record to sound like "Silent Alarm". This DEFINITELY IS NOT Silent Alarm, nor was he trying for that... AT ALL. He wanted to go for an electronic sound that would thrill club-goers and concert-goers alike. If you were open-minded enough to embrace "Flux" and "Your Visits are Getting Shorter" and "One More Chance", you may love this album. I read one review where the reviewer said "I'm disappointed because Kele has strayed too far from where he was most comfortable." Ummm, well, NO, he strayed from where YOU were most comfortable!
Now onto the album, if you're not expecting Silent Alarm, you may like this a lot! Some songs seem like Bloc Party tracks that could have fit in nicely on "A Weekend In the City" or "Intimacy", like the future single "Everything You Wanted", or the albums two best tracks "Unholy Thoughts" and "Yesterday's Gone".
You still get Kele's unique vocal delivery, and you still get hyper-personal lyrical content from a man who has to have to worst-ever luck with relationships. In one of my favorite tracks, "All The Things I Could Never Say", Kele sings "You tore the button off my favourite shirt/yet another thing I lost to you/where did you stay last night?/You didn't come home." This man's gone through more heartbreak than anyone, hasn't he? It's a shame "Meet In The Middle" is download only because it may be the album's finest track. It has excellent lyrics and the awesome build-up similar to that of "Song for Clay". It's not so similar to Song For Clay, just has a slow, dramatic intro and builds after in the same way Song for Clay does.
The song "Walk Tall" has a bit of a military stomp and chant reminiscent of a scene in the U.S. film "Stripes", and I think by now everyone's heard "Tenderoni" and either loves it or hates it. Apart from that, the record stands up well as a well-crafted solo effort. It would have gotten five stars for me if it weren't for the dreadful second track "On the Lam". I'm imagining that this song may be good live, but on record, it reminds me of "Barbie Girl" from the 90s band Aqua.
If you're open-minded, like Kele's voice, and can shake your hips with the best of them, this record is for you. If you're hoping for Silent Alarm, you'll be let down.
Judged on its own merits this is a passionate and atmospheric selection of electronic-based songs; Kele has not attempted to somehow show that he 'is' Bloc Party, but there are obvious similarities in style as he is clearly a key part of the band! Final track 'Yesterday's Gone' would probably slot subtly into any BP album, but the rest are refreshingly original and almost entirely excellent - lead single 'Tenderoni' is in my opinion the weakest track, but is by no means 'no good', just not quite as exciting as the remainder of the album.
i am an old codger in age but have loved good music from the sixties onwards.theres been lots of artists and bands that i have loved over this period .and not all with great longevity.but my ears did prick up when i heard the first bloc party album.i thought they were fresh origanal and didnt sound obviously like anyone else ,i still maintain this view and i think this solo effort is sperb havent stopped playing it,and it gets better every play.not one duff track.it has some similaritys to a bloc party album obviously,but highly origanl as well,a really great first solo effort.roll on the next bloc party album or another solo effort.great stuff
Kele Okereke has deemed it right to take some time off from Bloc Party to make a solo album and 'The Boxer' is the result. The eleven tracks in the collection are so good that I find myself wondering if his sabbatical might turn into something a tad longer lasting. The spotlight beckons methinks!
'The Boxer' has a sound which is both distinctive and coherent but shot through with Mr Okereke's mercurial magpie proclivities. Discombobulating electro-art-pop with the power to both dither and dance. The music is stronger on rhythmic structure than melodic content ( he hasn't yet figured out how to pin down a memorable tune but then again perhaps he doesn't want to!)
His voice, truth-be-told, is an instrument with considerable limitations but even though a little shaky and tonally insecure he, none-the-less, manages to imbue his performances with an elusively vulnerable quality.
Things kick off in kookie style with the 'Full Metal Jacket' parade ground call/response vocal of 'Walk Tall'. Underpinned by a big booming and zooming synth line it is as much a call to battle as it is a declaration of independence.
It is possible to jump up-and-down and from side-to-side to the jauntily wobbly beats of 'On The Lam'. The curious voice treatments make the track sound as though it might be being performed by a group of small woodland animals (I'm thinking chipmunks and weasels) in a sunny summer clearing.
Single 'Tenderoni' is a bit of an old-fashioned rave and nothing wrong with that!
'Everything You Wanted' made an immediately positive impression. The spirit of a particular moment in the eighties has been captured and preserved in the aspic of its splendid percussion and vocal arrangement.
The three minute long little gem 'Unholy Thoughts' (the spirit of Joy Division seems not much more than a hair's breadth away!) makes a strong mark by virtue of its stripped-down simplicity. Economy and energy rolled into one.
'All The Things I Could Never Say' takes a while to find its way. The nervously stuttering synth ostinato holds the shape of the composition as Mr Okereke's plaintive lament builds slowly and convincingly above it. The song builds to a restrained anthemic conclusion of curiously affecting intensity.
Final track 'Meet In The Middle' begins with a fragile acapella vocal line which gradually evolves into a far more substantial thematic idea full of chiming chords, echoing drums and a tune which had me thinking about Simple Minds for more than a moment or two (it's been many, many more moments since I had cause to think about them at all!) and which brings the project to a moderately rousing conclusion.
Mr Okereke may not be a contender for heavyweight musical champion of the universe but 'The Boxer' is a solo debut of which he can be justly proud.