By Carlos Chavez
Artist: Kele Okereke
Release Date: October 6, 2017
Kele Okereke is a well-respected UK based musician who has been in the industry for over a decade. You might recognize his work as the lead singer and guitarist for the indie rock band, Bloc Party. Okereke’s music career is one of a kind, juggling multiple gigs from his band and solo career, to experimenting with different sounds and melodies throughout his years as a musician.
Okereke’s third studio album, Fatherland, was released early in October and I have not been able to stop listening to it ever since I first clicked play. Okereke is known to be a very “to himself” type of guy, not having many interviews out there and not being keen of the spotlight; only through his music and live shows do we get a glimpse at what this tranquil lad is really like. But it feels as though every filter and wall he’s built is stripped away in Fatherland. He invites the listener to feel every mournful and joyous emotion he belts in the lyrics and harmonies throughout the album.
Okereke sings and opens up about the narratives he’s experienced in his recent life. He dedicates “Savannah” to his newborn daughter, gifting her a song full of advice and admiration. On another tender track, “Grounds of Resentment”, both Kele and lead singer of Years & Years, Olly Alexander, deliver a candid love song about heartbreak and progression. Every song has its own unique and supple interpretation, but they all give you a sense of understanding.
Okereke took a gamble making a shift in his sight and sound, but so far it has been a testament that musicians transitioning into new self-era can overcome the negativity that often comes from doing so.
The fingerpicked guitars, silky smooth vocals and body percussions make Fatherland such an honest and genuine work of art, putting it at the top of my list of this year’s top contemporary indie rock faves.