For Fans Of
It would’ve been nearly impossible for Enter Shikari to come up with another version of their killer debut ”Take To The Skies’, so instead of reproducing the same format of synthesised British prog. hardcore (or whatever you wanna define it as), they’ve resurfaced in Common Dreads with 15 tracks of apocalyptic mayhem that are just as offbeat, but possibly more eccentric than their debut.
Past the intro, the first actual song Solidarity continues the predecessor’s reoccurring choir-like chant "And still we will be here, standing like statues" acting as a clever bridge between albums.
The futuristic sound is even more evident with this sophomore effort, along with a rhythmic insanity that is their signature mish-mash of hardcore, techno and the downright bizarre. Not sticking to a formula, Enter Shikari have wonderfully used countless samples, anti-war cries, interesting inclusions of instruments from synth, piano, drum & bass to the jazz flute, not to mention gang vocals, wails courtesy of frontman Rou Reynolds, and of course ‘band’ elements of guitar, drums and bass guitar.
With so many elements, there’s a whole range of layers here – from the electronically upbeat, to the slightly angsty, while taking a stab at the nation’s political leaders. No Sleep Tonight is a clever slap on the faces of our world’s political leaders. It’s followed by Gap In The Fence, which starts off as a melodic interlude but builds to a acid-tripped dance-off in a crescendo beat-down.
Stirring the pot even further, The Jester is most notably the cleverest and most lyrically ironic track on the album, as its title suggests, proving the theory that Entert Shikari are just taking the piss in true British humour. Musically, it opens with the jazz flute then leads to an eclectic mix of beats and rhythms – it’s odd as hell, but freakin’ awesome all the same!
While Common Dreads is musically offbeat (but not off-tune), its tempo is always changing and its this unpredictable insanity that really makes Enter Shikari stand out above the rest. But with the reoccurring lyrical content cleverly yet obviously tongue in cheek, it makes one wonder if Enter Shikari are actually taking the piss out of themselves and music industry as a whole by creating a style that is un-definable, mischievous and defies all laws of musical composition. But life’s too short to pigeonhole bands by genre, so ‘grey areas’ are applaudable in my books (and on my iPod), especially when they sound as spot on as these insane poms. Go nuts!
1. Common Dreads
3. Step Up
7. Havoc A
8. No Sleep Tonight
9. Gap In The Fence
10. Havoc B
12. The Jester
15. Fanfare For The Conscious Man