Verdict: Beefed-up block party
Kele Okereke, best known as the impassioned vocalist of alternative poppers Bloc Party, has been working on sculpting his guns since the band decided to take a break last year. Not surprisingly considering his crazy, sweaty live performances, Okereke is not one to sit still, so has spent the past few months punching things in a boxing gym and experimenting in a recording studio. The result might just be the next soundtrack to a box-fit gym class, with its oonst oonst military-style opener Walk Tall, but it is also a heartfelt experiment designed to make its listeners think. Pulsing Tenderoni with his manipulated dance-demon vocals is contrasted with the delicately plucked New Rules, where Okereke sings "I'm learning to be laidback about certain things".
There are long-winded self-disclosing lyrics that choose to ignore the song's backbone, but this self-produced electronic collection is far more dance party than anything he has released with his band. It would seem the album's roots feed off a dark sweat-soaked boxing gym, but its head soars with the aching vocals that defined Bloc Party.
Like a party mixture of lollies it moves from rock-hard to mushy, sweet, to intensely sour. Each of its 10 song clocks in at around four minutes, but as they drop through a flow-chart of emotions, feel a lot longer. A member of a successful band usually opts to work on his own for a while to exercise his creativity, and here Kele certainly has.