Bloc Party Grows Up On Sophomore Album
May 02, 2006, 3:45 PM ET
Jolie Lash, L.A.
Bloc Party will follow its weekend performance at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival by hitting an Irish studio to record the follow up to its 2004 debut, "Silent Alarm." The set is expected late in the year via Vice/Atlantic.

The band has spent the last several weeks demoing cuts in London with producer Jacknife Lee, and with his help, Bloc Party is hoping shake off the angular rock tags of its debut, says frontman Kele Okereke.

"One thing that we've learnt from touring over the last two years is that there are other ways to be powerful whilst making music, rather than being completely full on, 100 miles per hour," Okereke tells Billboard. "This next record is hopefully going to be a lot more intricate and layered. We learnt so much about the power of arrangements. I know it sound cheesy, but I guess it is going to be a more grown up Bloc Party."

One place Okereke himself has found inspiration is in the back catalog of David Bowie. Spending months on tour with the British chameleon in rotation on the stereo has had a major impact.

"[Bowie's] had a career where you can actually trace influences and styles. He's just a real sort of artist in the way a lot of rock musicians now aren't given the scope to develop," he says. "That's something that became really fascinating to me toward the last half of the year. There's more we can do as a band than being fast, loud and shouty and I think these songs are going some way to explore that."

Bloc Party also plan to take on weightier topics lyrically. Okereke wrote the lyrics for "Waiting for the 718" after watching his post-college friends lose more and more of their lives to work, while "Hunting for Witches" was influenced by last summer's terrorists attacks on London's transportation system.

"The 30 bus in Hackney, which is just around the corner from where I live, was blown up. [That song was] written when I was just observing the reactions of the mainstream press in [the United Kingdom] and I was just amazed at how easy it'd been to whip them up into a fury," he notes. "I guess the point about the song for me is post-September 11th, the media has really traded on fear and the use of fear in controlling people."

Other cuts the band is mulling for the album include "Kreuzberg," "Cruel," "Merge on the Freeway" and "Machines" the later exploring the influence of MTV culture on young people around the world.

"When British music magazines say we're overly serious or po-faced I think it's actually an indication that the mindset of people right now is to be completely apolitical and not be concerned about what's happening in the world," he says. "To try and draw attention to this, you're labeled as a [political] party person or something and I think that's sad."

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