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Bloc Party Get Experimental

Brit rockers look to Radiohead for inspiration on second album

Bloc Party perform in New York City.
Jason Kempin/FilmMagic
February 23, 2006 11:54 AM ET

London's favorite post-punk revivalists Bloc Party will head into the studio to record the follow-up to their 2005 debut, Silent Alarm, next month.

The fourpiece, fronted by mop-topped singer-guitarist Kele Okereke, began writing for the record during soundchecks while on tour last year and brought demos to the band's East London rehearsal space in January. Fleshing their ideas out to twenty tracks, the group's new cuts take a direction expected to surprise their faithful.

"There's always a danger that you can disappoint people when you do something different," bassist Gordon Moakes says. "With us, we've retained some of that jerkiness [from Silent Alarm] but we didn't want to do anything that we've already done. There's a lot of gentle stuff, but we don't want to have a gentle record."

Moakes says some of the cuts the group have come up with sound not far from the edgy, dream-rock of New York outfit TV on the Radio, while others employ electronic, "processed beats." He expects the track "Uniform" to be a people-pleaser, "Atonement" to be the record's "centerpiece" and "Wet" to get feet moving. "If all goes well with that one, it will be quite a brooding dancefloor-type thing, and quite druggy," he says. "We're hoping to maybe have some strings in that."

Bloc Party have been trying out producers in London, the city they will record in. Moakes says they are hoping to click with someone who is as interested in experimenting as his outfit is. Though current candidates have backgrounds heavy in the dance world -- including Steve Dub (an engineer for the Chemical Brothers) and Jacknife Lee (a remixer for U2) -- Moakes says it is another experimental rock band's template that they hope to follow.

"[We're looking to expand] more along the lines of Radiohead, but it's obviously a bit early to kind of imagine yourself in that mold," Moakes says. "[We're working toward] not being afraid to make music out of quite difficult sounds and have things quite processed. We want to get more texture into what we do, and not have it just like a rock record."

Those looking to get a taste of the new material before its expected August release can catch Bloc Party when they return to the U.S. in April for a series of dates. The trip -- during which the band will be playing "mostly new songs," according to Moakes -- will culminate with a return to Coachella, where they packed a side stage last year.

"The timing is really good for us because it's almost like there's a deadline for at least getting the lion's share of the record done," Moakes says of the festival performance, which will see them headline the second stage. "We'll be raring to play properly by the end of April."

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