The solo project is that thing that allows members of a band to do their own thing – the things they can’t get away with doing within the entity of the group. That’s certainly what Kele Okereke (formerly?) of Bloc Party has done with his first solo single, Tenderoni.
It’s much different to what I was expecting, despite being highly aware of how Bloc Party have changed their sound from the guitar led indie-rock of Silent Alarm to the more electronic sound of Intimacy during the five years between them. Tenderoni has a much harder, industrial, beat driven sound.
In a way, it could just represent the next natural sound for Kele (yes, he’s dropped his surname) music as the sounds of Bloc Party singles like Flux and One More Chance did move in this sort of direction, but not THIS far.
The combination of industrial bass and beats give it a very dirty feel, even grimy. You can see this being played into the early hours inside various dark underground East End bars and clubs, and it's very easy to dance to.
Of course, with Kele providing the vocals, they are the same style as you’d find in a Bloc Party track. Slightly angst driven themes are still massively prevalent and even if you hadn’t heard this track before, you’d be able to tell that it’s one of Kele’s thanks to his distinct vocal style.
This is a good , if experimental, track and it’ll be very interesting to see what the Kele’s debut solo album – The Boxer – sounds like when it’s released on June 21st. This sounds promising, but ultimately, people will be asking if Kele’s solo work will be as popular as his work with Bloc Party.
The honest answer is it’s too early to tell. Tenderoni may not appeal to those who see Silent Alarm as Bloc Party’s greatest work, but Kele’s expansion into electronic and industrial sounds could open him up to new audiences.
The bottom line is that if you only enjoyed Silent Alarm, then you probably won’t like this. On the other hand however, if you loved Intimacy then Tenderoni may very well be for you.