Kele: Trick

(Lilac Records)

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When listening to Kele Okereke’s solo work, it’s important to set aside any preconceived notions you have of his sound through his band Bloc Party. Rather than continue in that vein of clever guitar rock, Kele has deviated to the sort of soulful dance music that England does so well.

And Trick certainly doesn’t disappoint there. The tracks all have emphatic beats, but they’re rarely too heavy on the bass. Opener “First Impressions,” featuring a guest appearance by singer Yasmin, sounds like a sensuous club remix and a flirtation between the two vocalists. This chemistry reappears with Jodie Scantlebury on “Closer,” but the synth here gets a bit too cheesy for its own good.

Each track on Trick is engaging in its own way, whether exploring loneliness or the desire to lose oneself in carnality. Pleas like, “Let my love take you higher” (“Humour Me”) or declarations like, “See, I know that you want some/You just don’t wanna get sprung” (“Stay the Night”) would seem out of place if Kele were trying any other musical style. Crooned in soothing tones over hypnotic beats, he’s found the perfect balance between seductive and needy. There’s a lot at work here, but for the most part, Trick would rather get you moving first and asking questions later.

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About Casey Hicks

Casey Hicks toils her daylight hours away in an office high above Manhattan in order to afford nights of passionately scribbling. The first song she remembers ever hearing is "Lola" by the Kinks. She thinks this explains a lot.
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