More than just entertainment, some artists set out to make records that capture exactly what it means to be human. Having watched countless American artists demonstrate through their music that Black Lives Do Indeed Matter, Kele Okereke has finally achieved his own Black-British take in ‘2042’, capturing all the fears and foibles of our current political system through a sonic palette that recalls some of the earliest of Bloc Party’s work.
Lead single ‘Jungle Bunny’ is the natural, world-weary older brother to ‘Hunting For Witches’’ observational lyrics, exploring ideas of class and race with a deft, dark comedy, and it balances beautifully against interludes of interviews with Kele’s mother and the pacing fear of ‘Cyril’s Blood’ (named for his Grandfather). The centrepiece however is the emotional state-of-the-nation ‘Let England Burn’, which watches the tensions of our country with both despair and a nervous energy to rebel, set against gnarly guitars. “It’s getting kinda gully up in here for a dark skin boy that doesn’t play by the rules” he intones. We’re bloody glad he doesn’t - by holding a mirror up to society, ‘2042’ encourages us all to keep fighting the good fight.