Last Monday (Oct 05th), the UK Indie-Rock band presented a new line-up featuring Justin Harris (Menomena) on bass and Louise Bartle on drums, when they played a special performance featuring two unreleased songs at the famous BBC Maida Vale studios in London. In the evening, they presented the first airing of their new single The Love Within.
The high squawking electronic intro of the song (that, as we know by now, is not a synth, but completely created by guitar effects) sounds like the stalling of an engine, but at the moment where the drums fully kick in it evolves into the sound of some little elephant playfully stomping around on a keyboard.
Interestingly, it’s lyrics apparently do not deal with a clubby / druggy night out, in spite of the electronic arrangement, and in spite of Kele recycling the opening line Lord give me grace and dancing feet from 2007’s single The Prayer, that dealt with overcoming the debiliating effect of self-consciousness with the help of music and dancing (and drugs?) on a night out in a club.
The lyrics to The Love Within, though, seem to reference a certain type of redemption and euphoric explosion that stems from some force (religion/spirituality? love? music?) of a non-chemical nature (sweeter than any drug).
Overall, the song still appears a bit sketchy with all its focus on new sound experiments, but it’s still growing on me and it’s definitely enough to keep me curious about what’s more to come there.
Bloc Party @ BBC Maida Vale Studios, London, UK
Monday, Oct. 05th, 2015
The Good News (new song)
Song For Clay (Disappear Hear)
Banquet Interview / Q&A Exes (new song)
This Modern Love
Bloc Partys fifth album called Hymns is to be released on January 29th, 2016. The band is going to tour Europe in November. Guess who’s going.
Last September, Kele Okereke (frontman of UK Indie-Rock Post-Punk band Bloc Party and besides an electronic music dj and solo artist), wrote a piece comparing his experiences as a black, gay artist in the British Independent-Rock music scene and the international electronic and house scene. Actually, this description isn’t completely true, as Kele states that, in contrary to the British Indie-Rock scene, his encounters with both other artists and the music press in the context of house music were characterized by the fact that actually there wasn’t a necessity to emphasize him being black and gay, because – it simply didn’t matter.
In this article, Kele characterizes the very strict limitations and rules from the inside of the narrow-minded British guitar music scene (apparently an exclusive insider club for heterosexual, young, male members with a certain taste of musical style) and therefore reveals that the most rebellious pose has the most conservative scene. (A scene of south park comes to mind where Stan tries to join some Goth kids and they just reply: “If you wanna be one of the non-conformists, all you have to do is dress just like us and listen to the same music we do.” ‘Nuff said, and, according to Okereke, not even a bit exaggerated.).
In both previous interviews and in his art, Kele Okereke has adressed issues and personal experiences concerning racism and homophobia. The dystopian description of UK youth culture in the lyrics of Bloc Party’s second album A Weekend In The City repeatedly adress these topics. Especially the song Where is Home that features the quote from the headline, deals with the racial violence that lead to a killing of a young black man in 2006 in Kent, UK. During the promotional cycle of this album, Kele was unwillingly outed by Q Magazine, one of Englands biggest music magazines.
To read Kele’s inspired plans about not only wanting to mix up musicial elements, but also to combine certain parts of the spirit and the experience of these two kinds of music, and to get teased about a fifth Bloc Party-Album, read the whole article here (it’s really worth it!) :
Edit: You can find a similar article about Kele and the above mentioned topics on the website of UK newspaper The Indepentent.
Tl; dnr: Reporting his experiences in both the british independent rock music scene and in the international world of electronic and house music in a recent Vice article, Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke characterizes the former as narrow-minded and stigmatizing regarding him being black and gay, while he found the electronic music scene as more welcoming and open-minded.