Kele: ‘Trick’ Album Review

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Trick is Bloc Party frontman Kele’s second full-length solo album. Fans expecting indie-guitar anthems, look away now, this is an electronic album, with its roots firmly in dance music.

Frisky album opener “First Impressions” has a lengthy section where Kele hands over the lead vocals to British DJ and singer-songwriter Yasmin.  “Coasting” sets the scene for the majority of the rest of the album – which has the feel of Massive Attack influenced dark electronica, with a hint of Todd Terry thrown in for good measure. The chorus really lifts “Coasting”, one of the album’s most memorable tracks.

Another album highlight is “Closer” which features Jodie Scantlebury (who has worked with Roisin Murphy and Bryan Ferry) as co-vocalist. The production on this song reminds me of Everything But The Girls “Missing” (the Todd Terry remix).

The vocals on “Like We Used To” head into new territory – In Bloc Party, Kele’s voice was brought to the front of the mix and was often abrasive. On Trick, the vocals are more treated and are often sung softly, befitting the late-night vibe of the majority of the tracks.

Year Zero” could have fitted into Bloc Party’s 2008 Intimacy album. “My Hotel Room” has a lovely sustained synth-line underpinning the slowly building song of seduction, which also contains one of the most emotive vocal performances on the album.

The album closes with the most direct song on Trick. “Stay the Night” has a very upfront vocal, and almost feels like an 80s Prince anthem! In the old days, this song would be the potential big hit single that would have the A & R department drooling with anticipation.

“Stay the Night” shows that stripping back the arrangement, removing the production atmospherics and letting the vocal melody take centre-stage can reap huge benefits. Of all the songs on the album, this is the one that lingers and really gets under your skin.

The only downside to the album is that a few of the tracks (“Doubt” and “Humour Me”) are not as strong and their inclusion breaks the flow a little. But on the whole, Trick is the sound of Kele finding his voice away from the confines of Bloc Party’s post-punk palette, and I look forward to hearing where he goes next.