When indie rock band Bloc Party decided to take a sabbatical after five straight years of touring, Kele Okereke, the band's lead singer, originally intended to take a break from music for a year. However, he found his creative impulses were too strong, and ended up booking himself some exploratory time in a recording studio on a whim. Alone with an engineer, he gravitated towards new instruments, hardly ever picking up the guitar. He recalled in a press release: "I plugged in synths with no idea what they would do. I began programming drum beats, which I had never done before. It was completely back to the drawing board. It was exciting and terrifying. In most cases, I sat down, pulled a drum beat out of nowhere, and arranged stuff around that. It was as exciting to me as the first time I picked up a guitar."
For The Boxer Kele strove to make the sounds of his compositions as raw as possible. "The key for the sound of the record was to take things as harsh and as physical as I could make them. These are the sounds that make me happiest in the world," he said. The freeform, cascading techno meltdown that constituted the second half of this song was one of the first things he wrote for the record and ended up being an emotional blueprint for it.