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Kele - 'Everything You Wanted'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:35 UK time, Friday, 6 August 2010

Kele

I think it was that Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly single that finally did it.

I'd been struggling a bit with Kele's 'new' 'urban' 'direction', not least because anyone who'd been following Bloc Party's trajectory could've seen it coming a mile off, whether under his name or the band's. This is apart from what I just had to admit were my usual reservations about his voice - yelpy, whispery, occasionally annoying - and tunesmithery - yelpy, monotonous, occasionally fantastic.

Then, biffing around town one day, the Get Cape single popped up on a random playlist, and, without checking what it was, I assumed it was Kele's latest. You have to admit their voices aren't a million miles apart, sonically speaking. "At last!", I said to myself, "he's put some fun into his songs! The words sit comfortably within the music, because they all rhyme and stuff, and they're FUNNY! Oh THIS must be what he means when he tells the press how happy his new music has made him..."

Sad faces all round once the penny dropped.

(Here's the video. Poor lamb.)

I think the problem has been that Kele can come across in his songs as a very studious, very academic person. All brain and no heart. Which is odd because there are tons of Bloc Party songs which are massively personal and emotional. On the other hand, 'Tenderoni' just felt like he was clinically doing his grime homework, with no real grasp that even the most minimal, robotic musical noise needs some sense of personality for people to latch onto.

Thankfully, while this has nothing like Get Cape's sense of fun, there's a LOT more visable blood and heat in it. Plus - and I really can't overstate how important this is - a chorus with a good tune.

It's all about the chorus, actually. Those didgeridoo verses, dark and moody (and mooey), might be the backbone of what Kele is saying, it might be the intellectual core of his argument, but the chorus is where all the emotional weight is. It's the chorus that hits home. And this is because poignant words and reasoned argument are no substitute for a direct, emotional connection.

"I could've given you everything you wanted, everything you needed."

Frankly he could be singing this over anything, from operatic arias to the dirtiest metal, and it would still be brilliant.

Probably wise not to test this theory too rigorously though, eh? You know what students are like...

Four stars Download: Out now

www.iamkele.com
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

Luminous Plectrum says: "'Everything You Wanted' is a non-starter, even with the welcome didgeridoo throughout ."

Faux says: "One of the strongest and...most emotional tracks on the album."

Potholes In My Blog says: "The vocal approach on songs like 'Everything You Wanted' goes a little too far down the wrong path."

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