Friday, 27 October 2017

Kele Okereke - Fatherland. (Kele / Bloc Party)

When it comes early 21st century UK Indie bands I'd bet you don't get too far into the list before Bloc Party appear. Releasing their first studio album Silent Alarm in 2005 they stormed the charts and landed a Mercury Prize nomination. Since then we've had a raft of albums and mixed tapes from them, each time we're offered an array of talent and varying degrees of Electronica, Alt Dance, Post Punk & Indie.

At the front of Bloc Party stands Kele Okereke, he's one of those Artists whose voice you can spot a mile off, whether that be on Bloc Party, his solo work or featuring with Trance or EDM legends such as Tiesto and Chemical Brothers. 


Throughout the last 15years Kele has treated us to a whole raft of albums, and as mentioned this isn't the first solo album from him. He's previously released albums under the mononym Kele during the gaps between Bloc Party Albums, as well as a few tracks under Kele Okereke in 2014.


Fatherland is the first Studio Album released under the name Kele Okereke, I wonder if the reason for the name change is due to the change in style. If you're looking for an album synonymous to the Oscillating Audiogasms of Silent Alarm or A Weekend in the City then this isn't going to satisfy those ear drums.

Even Bloc Party's most recent album Hymns, which took a slow down in pace, is far from Fatherland.



So what about Fatherland? Kele's put down the Synthesisers and Modeller Pedals, moving away from the electro punk pace, replacing them with simple Folk acoustic sounds. In fact the entire album is Kele with an acoustic guitar and mellow drums - occasionally featuring an additional instrument such as a Piano, Saxophone or Violin.


The only electro feel within the entire album is the keyboards and slightly lifted pace of Grounds For Resentment which features Olly Alexander (of Years and Years). On the lines of additional vocals Fatherlands also lends vocals from Corinne Bailey Rae on track Versions of Us.


It feels as if this whole album is telling us a story the name change, the sound change and the image change and that's before we even listen to the first lyrics. This is a story of romance and affect of time, influenced by the birth of his daughter according to Kele. It features a story of his relationships with his long term boyfriend, family & heritage. 


As the album moves through it shows the rollercoaster of life and romance. Happy upbeat new relationships the woo-ing and passion. See 'Do U Right' my personal favourite from the album, fairly upbeat and fun. To Savannah an ode his daughter.


Fatherland the story of an Indie rockstar of Nigerian & Catholic background in a same-sex relationship having his first born (not that you can simplify a man down to a few basic facts), Kele has always been somewhat shy and unforthcoming with the media, but I think this album brings humanity and complexity to the surface.


Fatherland is a testament to Kele's life and his abilities as a performer to tell a story in such a long way from his usual style. It's new, it's different, it's good!


I still can't help but feel I want more rhythmic guitar and electro punk though!