Bloc Party: ‘Ultra-violence and hedonism have fuelled this album’

Kele Okereke promises a vastly different second LP

Bloc Party are putting the finishing touches to an album which they promise will be a complete change both musically and lyrically.

Recorded with U2 and Snow Patrol producer Jacknife Lee between February and July of this year, it marks a concerted attempt by the band to move on from their previous post-punk sound into something singer Kele Okereke called“dark, bigger and quite abrasive”.

NME.COM joined the band at a studio in Shoreditch, east London to listen to four tracks. They point to an album, to be released early next year, which is more ambitious than their 2005 debut ‘Silent Alarm’.

“It’s not noisy, but it’s quite dense,” said Okereke, whose band play the V Festival this weekend (August 19/20). “I think it’s going to require people to make an effort with it. There’s a lot of interplay and a lot of detail. There are some slower moments too. I was aware that we didn’t have very many songs that were laid back. Everything was frenetic and that’s fine, but we wouldn’t be doing ourselves any justice as musicians if we just ploughed the same furrow.”

The lyrics are also a departure from ‘Silent Alarm’. Three terrible events spurred Okereke to write words which were no longer vague but openly personal and political. “Last year there were a lot of ultra-violent incidents last year perpetrated by young people,” he remembered. “A cousin of mine, Christopher Aleneme, was killed in a racist attack.” The 18-year-old was stabbed to death on a night out.

“Then there was the gay bartender [David Morley] who was beaten to death on the South Bank (of London) by a bunch of kids. I remember feeling so repulsed when I read that story and that galvanised my mindset.”

The third event was the 2005 London bombings. “Post July 7 I started to look at things in the press in a different way,” said Okereke. “You realise that stuff you read in the Daily Mail every day seems to purport an idea of otherness, whether it’s immigrants ‘flooding’ the country or young black teens.”

For more on this story, plus a full V Festival preview, get this week’s issue of NME, dated August 19, onsale now in all good newsagents.