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Kele: The Boxer

Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke has been full of revelations lately, first coming out of the closet, now releasing a solo album on which he sets aside his guitar in favor of banging club beats. Then again, for those paying any attention to Okereke over the years, none of this should come as a surprise, with gay rumors being the way they are, and Bloc Party not being afraid to go electro when it felt the urge. Produced by XXXchange (Spank Rock, The Kills), The Boxer sets its dance-friendly agenda early, barely coming up for air during an opening trifecta that includes the ecstatic first single “Tenderoni,” which has rightly been accused of sharing attributes with Wiley’s “Wearing My Rolex.” It all sounds exciting and as liberating as one would expect of a singer-guitarist going solo with keyboards and drum machines. Things eventually start to mellow out a bit halfway through the record, but Okereke does a fine balancing act with the shirtless bumping and dramatic electro-pop (he’s at his best when he’s being dumped during “Everything You Wanted”), and he even makes room for a little Bloc Party lite with “Unholy Thoughts.” Okereke has said that he’s finally found his sweet spot with The Boxer, which will give Bloc Party fans pause; it’s a good album and all, but it shouldn’t be mistaken for anything more than an adventurous side project.


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