“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.”