For Fans Of
Enter Shikari are one of the few bands out there who continually get better with each album. Their debut, ‘Take To The Skies’, was great…for 2007. However, now it has aged worse than Mickey Rourke and Axl Rose combined and thus it’s still the weakest entry in their discography. Though, unlike their first full-length, ‘Common Dreads’ and ‘A Flash Flood Of Colour’, were both fantastic and when you go back to them now, they still stand the test of time (especially the latter). Now these four British lads, who play like four over-enthusiastic bunnies on crack, are back in 2015 with album number four, and holy mother of eight-titted Mary, what an album it is!
Again working with SikTh guitarist Dan Weller (queue the Wayne’s World ‘We’re not worthy’ moment), the band has never sounded better than they do on ‘The Mindsweep’. The breadth and clarity of the album’s mix is great and it allows music like this to truly shine. So please, for the love of all fuck, make sure you blast these songs as loud as you can through good–quality speakers for maximum audible orgasms.
‘The Mindsweep’ (not to be confused with the old Windows game, Minesweeper) is also a fine example of a band not letting themselves being pigeonholed by others or being restricted by a certain genres limitations and norms. Nowadays, there is an ever growing number of bands that try to morph a lot of different sounds together (note: Crossfaith good, Design The Skyline bad), but Enter Shikari are part of the upper tier that do it the best. Ergo, no one should be surprised that the band still achieves that superbly executed mix of styles. One minute it’s all about aggression and relying on hardcore aesthetics and heaviness and then a chorus swinging one massively infectious melody hits and the band nor the song never miss a beat, nor are things worse off because if it. This is most true on ‘One True Colour’, arguably the best of the bunch, and the reverse is true on ‘The Bank Of England’.
Of course the group can’t be judged by just one or two songs alone, but they haven’t mixed up their usual antics that much so it’s all very familiar, but the good kind of familiar that you can cuddle up to and not feel dirty about. Vocalist Rou Reynolds commands your attention whether he’s singing, speaking, rapping or screaming. The churning low-end of Chris Batterns bass playing is super tight and crushing and the bass drops are just chest rumblingly good, but more on that later. The constant rave-like synth is erratic, clean, and it goes off harder than Darude’s ‘Sandstorm‘. Finally, the insanely catchy melodies and giant choruses are just craving for a crowd to sing every word back as loud as possible. Now, that’s all well and good (very, very good) but when you couple that with the political and social awareness of the songs, these guys have an edge that few bands can match…’Cause, you know, the band actually has something to say in their music.
On ‘Myopia’, a serious song about how we treat our one and only planet, it’s unique in its delivery and in its lyrics (taken from the point of view of animals). The band has tackled climate change and other global issues before, but it’s never been done in the most serious, heavy-handed of ways, and thus the songs are pure fun without being too doom and gloomy. Whereas in contrast, ‘The Last Garrison’ is catchier and less heavy on the ears and it feels like it could get time on radio and T.V. very easily. But on another note, ‘There’s A Price On Your Head‘, ‘The Appeal And The Mindsweep I’, and it’s second variation at the end of the album are all about getting right up in your face with heavier riffs, shouted vocals, and fast drumming. Now on another, another note, ‘Dear Future Historians…’ is a sweepingly epic and building song in the vein of ‘Constellations’ – melodic and beautifully crescendoing. It starts with Reynolds singing over a piano. It’s soft and delicate, and then it’s suddenly crushed under the weight of the next explosive section, then it’s all brought to a halt with strings and brass instruments closing out the track. Of course, the synth jabs out across all of these like a quick smack to the gob.
It wouldn’t be Enter Shikari without some seriously phat beats, especially on the Sophocles name dropping ‘Never Let Go Of The Microscope’ and on the UK healthcare system critical, ‘Anaesthetist’ (this is probably the most appropriate time to spell it with a ph). ‘Anaesthetist’ is pretty sub-heavy and has one first-throwing, hectic drop at the end, and the former combines rapping and an arrangement in the vein of The Prodigy to be super effective on your ears, like a fire-type Pokémon bathing a grass-type Pokémon in Hell fire.
So, as you’ll find when listening to this album, variety and contrast are the choice meal of the day but it makes the album such a fun, engaging listen that you’ll only complain if you don’t like having a good time. Oh, and make sure you get on top of ‘Slipshod’ and its bat-shit crazy music video if you haven’t already. Because if a band was ever going to release a banger of a single, then that song is right on the fucking money.
Enter Shikari still have the uncanny ability to write songs that deal with very serious content but that are still uplifting and are such a sheer joy to listen to. With songs this well crafted, you really can’t go wrong. This is an album of near boundless energy and chaos, and contrasting sounds and ideas, yet it’s far more cohesive than most other albums. Enter Shikari just continue to stand in a league of their own.
1. The Appeal & The Mindsweep I
2. The One True Colour
4. The Last Garrison
5. Never Let Go Of The Microscope
7. Torn Apart
9. The Bank Of England
10. There’s A Price On Your Head
11. Dear Future Historians…
12. The Appeal & The Mindsweep II