The leap from front man to solo artist was always going to be a tough transition for Kele Okereke. Coming from a band who cultivated such a trademarked sound, it was nearly expected that he would simply progress this sound, under his own control, for his solo outing. Jaws firmly slapped the floor upon release of his debut album The Boxer when the Bloc Party fans found the introspective lead singer changed into something quite different, musically: confidently steeped in electronica and with a new found verve in his lyric writing, he had marked his stylistic turf. Now, with his future as part of Bloc Party subject of much media speculation, his second outing as a solo artist has him further proving his metal as an electronic artist.
Opening the, lengthy, 7 track EP is lead single ‘What Did I Do’ which sees Okereke relinquish lead vocal duties to classically trained choirist Lucy Taylor. Reminiscent of Katy B’s more dubstep moments, the vocals lift the track above what would have otherwise been by-the-numbers dubstep, particularly when harmonising with Okereke during the chorus. Aided by Spank Rock and The Kills producer XXXChange he travels a gamut of electronic styles from here on in: from the post-dancehall ‘Release Me’ to the swelling synths and haunting vocals on ‘Devotion’. While showcasing his versatility as an electronic artist, it sometimes threatens to disjoint the listener as there is no sense of uniform to the tracklisting.
The most cohesive moment on the EP comes courtesy of a cover of Q Lazzarus song ‘Goodbye Horses’. Initally seeming like a strange choice as a cover, it works surprisingly well, with his vocals easily matching the songs highs and lows. The sense of ease with which he manoeuvre’s through the EP, is indicative of how he has evolved as a recording artist. Viewing his output from involvement in Bloc Party through to collaborations with The Chemical Brothers and Hercules and Love Affair, it seems he has stumbled upon his niche through experimentation. So, although lacking a musical signature just yet, the EP proves there is life after the Party for Kele Okereke.