Hometown: London, England
Discography:2004, Bloc Party EP, Dim Mak 2005, Silent Alarm, Vice/Atlantic
Bloc Party is nothing if not right on time. These four South London blokes seamlessly fuse all that’s momentarily cool, merging the choppy post-punk licks of Interpol, the dance-friendly jangle of Franz Ferdinand, and even a touch of Saddle Creek-style political banter. But there’s something so engaging about the urgent songwriting of Kele Okereke, the band’s irrepressible frontman, that hints at longevity beyond this particular British invasion. With his piercing emotional explorations and edgy political banter, Okereke possesses more charisma in one of his floppy dreadlocks than any number of feuding indie-rock singers put together.
Okereke and mop-topped guitarist Russell Lissack (who may or may not have a right eye; his wispy coiffure always seem to hide it) met through mutual friends at the annual Reading Festival, a massive weekend event outside London where rock’s dignitaries come to melt faces. The kinship between the two emerged quickly, and onstage it’s clear that they’re the closest friends in the band, constantly leaning on one another, ripping out chords, and whispering back and forth. Later, they linked up with bass player Gordon Moakes, five years their elder, via Moakes’ ad in British weekly mag NME, and finally found the drummer they’d been seeking in Matt Tong after auditioning several candidates.
Boogie-worthy singles like “She’s Hearing Voices” and the undeniable “Banquet” helped Bloc Party break through in the UK, and also, somewhat unfairly, had many lumping them in with the entire lot of danceable British bands that emerged over the past two years. Silent Alarm, the band’s debut full-length, reveals much more depth to the Bloc Party sound, especially with dramatic, detailed epics like “Pioneers” and “Blue Light.”