.

New Bloc Party All Grown Up

Post-punk crew promises politics on "angry" sophomore effort

Bloc Party perform in New York City.
Jason Kempin/FilmMagic
May 9, 2006 2:35 PM ET

"I don't want to use the term 'grown-up' -- because that sounds so cheesy -- but I think we found different ways of expressing ourselves," says Kele Okereke, frontman for London hipsters Bloc Party, speaking about the band's highly anticipated new album.

Okereke claims the follow-up to Silent Alarm, the band's acclaimed debut, will retain the first album's urgency, while reflecting their experience. "There's a lot of urgency on that first record, in the intensity of the way we're playing, the way I'm singing," he says. "Everything's quite furious-sounding, and a lot of that was due to being twenty and having lots of questions, lots of energy and not really knowing how to focus it. Now I'm at a very different stage with my life. There's still aggression, I guess, and intensity -- but it's a very different kind."

But can the fashionable post-punk stars expect throngs for an older Bloc Party? Having recently wowed the crowd at California's Coachella Valley Music and Art Festival with new material, a confident Okereke says he's ready to venture into bolder territory: politically-inspired songwriting.

"In July of last year, London was bombed," he says. "I was really disgusted by the reaction in the mainstream press. It seemed to become an anti-Muslim, xenophobic thing, and that started me thinking . . . That feeling of futility is one of the main themes of the record."

Okereke says that although he plans to make "quite an angry record," this doesn't mean the band is sticking to the driving, staccato rhythms of its first album. "Those ambitious sounds and those ambitious atmospheres were something we were trying to recreate," he says, "[but] I think there'd be no point for any of us if we were going to approach it the same way." Actually, their most recent influences include the lush compositions of Philip Glass and genre-bender Bjork's all-vocal album, Medulla.

Okereke pauses and adds, "It's not quite so jerky, but it's not like Coldplay either. It's still us."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com