Kele Okereke's first solo album begins with a blaring, fuzzy off-beat and the Bloc Party singer starting a military calling cadence: "I don't what you been told/ But this don't stand/ Walk tall, walk tall." We're certainly not in the Kansas of Silent Alarm any more. But then, often at Okereke's behest, Bloc Party had evolved into a quasi-electronic act even before the release of 2008's Intimacy – so the shift to a solo album that takes in sounds more usually found between stations on London's FM radios than on XFM isn't much of a surprise. In fact it's not even that much of a departure: the running guitar lines of Unholy Thoughts are close to something Russell Lissack might conjure up, and Yesterday's Gone is a Kele ballad from the same postcode as So Here We Are. It not quite the leap that tracks such as the sample-heavy, voice-changing twostep of On the Lam would suggest. It's a convergence that really works though, with Kele mixing the adventurous side electronic music enables him to embrace with the conservatism borne of years in a guitar band. A really solid debut.
Kele: The Boxer | CD review