“I’ve always loved the inclusive and spiritual nature of house music,” says singer, DJ and producer Kele Okereke. The frontman for London dance-punk four-piece Bloc Party often indulged this passion in his main outfit’s club-ready rhythm section (not to mention guest vocalist stints with electronic legends the Chemical Brothers), but it wasn’t until his first solo effort, 2010’s The Boxer, that he started to explore it further. With “God Has a Way,” the first taste of Okereke’s forthcoming four-track EP Heartbreaker, Okereke joins contemporaries like Disclosure and Rudimental in leading the UK garage revival scene.
“God Has a Way” features vocals from Darryl Rich, whom Okereke met when Bloc Party were touring the U.S. this past year. “He was driving us from city to city, we got to talking and he told me he was a gospel singer,” Okereke tells Rolling Stone. “One night as we drove he played me some original music he was working on and I was blown away. I knew there and then that I had to use his voice on something I was working on.”
Okereke, who took the production reins this time around (Boxer was produced by Kills and Spank Rock affiliate XXXchange), builds the tension with hissing hi-hats and unnerving synth stabs before Rich’s voice bubbles up from below. His warm, low growl backed with a gospel choir is the perfect accompaniment to Okereke’s propulsive mechanics.
Heartbreaker arrives November 25th on vinyl and December 9th on Beatport through Crosstown Rebels.