Kele Okereke, frontman for UK indie-rockers Bloc Party, has announced his fifth studio album, The Waves Pt. 1, and released a new track from the record – a cover of Bronski Beat’s Smalltown Boy.
Kele’s reworking of the dance classic replaces the pounding synths of the original with hypnotic, intertwining clean electric guitars – a thread that connects the album's tracklisting.
The Waves Pt. 1 is said to draw from film scores and classical music, as well as a desire to meld pop songs with meditative passages.
Smalltown Boy follows the release of minimalist instrumental The Heart of the Wave, which landed earlier this month.
“After the first lockdown I found myself in an odd position,” Kele says.
“I became a stay at home dad of a 3 year old and a 6 month old. Those initial days were hard but looking back they were also incredibly rewarding.
“In the rare moments of down time I would go up to my music room and play the guitar, looping myself, making this wall of sound. It became a type of therapy for me, something to calm me down as it seemed like the whole world was losing its head.
“I realised in those moments that I missed the act of performing, so I joined Instagram so I could upload performances of my old songs and songs that I love. It was a lifeline for me, to still feel connected to an audience, to still feel like a musician in this time of freefall.
“What also became clear was that I still had the desire to create. Usually when I make records it's an ensemble affair, there are usually lots of other musicians and singers I work with, but as we were in lockdown I did not have that luxury of being able to work with other musicians.
“I knew I had to fill in the space of this record entirely by myself, which was daunting but also very liberating. This album is literally the sound of me.”
The Waves Pt. 1 is out on May 28 via Kele’s own label, KOLA Records / !K7, and available to preorder now.
The album's full tracklisting is below:
- Message From The Spirit World
- They Didn’t See It Coming
- The Way We Live Now
- How To Beat The Lie Detector
- The One Who Held You Up
- The Patriots
- Smalltown Boy
- From A Place Of Love
- The Heart Of The Wave
- Cradle You (Bonus Track)