Since their humble formation in 2003, St Albans four-piece Enter Shikari have gone further than anyone could have ever imagined such a noisy, politically charged group of mavericks to go.
When they released their debut album Take To The Skies in 2007, their cult following was already impressive, resulting in the album reaching number 4 in the UK album charts. An accomplishment that is almost unheard of nowadays. For a band that has self-released everything they’ve done and have had no part in major record labels, they’ve achieved a hell of a lot. The unique blend of hard-core, electronica and bold political statements has sparked the interest of many and has secured Enter Shikari an almost a cult-like following.
Never scared to try something unexpected, new album The Mindsweep is relatively different to the bands previous material. It doesn’t grab you like the brashness of ‘Sorry You’re Not A Winner’ nor is it as carefree and silly as ‘Zzzonked’ or as full on as ‘Ok Time For Plan B’. It’s reserved and clever. The theatrics may have been toned down but as you listen what becomes apparent is the carefully structured layers of each song.
You may be sad to see the end of the ‘Juggernauts’ style synth bashing but there are songs on this album that show a different side to Enter Shikari. The obvious hit from the album is single ‘Last Garrison’, which is huge from the first scream of “Can you hear the war cry” right the way through all of the high-octane electronica. There are however more exciting adrenaline-charged moments hidden within this 12-track album that are at first overshadowed by this blatant hit.
The constantly evolving ‘Never Let Go Of The Microscope’ is just one of those moments. Rou Reynolds shows of his skilful spoken word rapping which gives way to the ridiculously catchy hallowed repeats of “I’ve got a sinking feeling” which echoes around the track in a very ominous manner before making way on behalf of a loveable burst of highly enthused screaming.
‘Myopia’ is also full of unexpected enormity. Beginning with sampled dripping noises you wouldn’t be amiss thinking the track wouldn’t amount to much but this song evolves into something huge! The indulgent catchy chorus of “I’m beginning to get glimpses of what is called real life“ loses its spot in the limelight to the larger than life hefty breakdowns that make this track a winner. ‘Torn Apart’ is another hidden gem. Starting out with a charming little guitar riff and whispering vocals, the track again showcases a perfectly structured chorus.
Although The Mindsweep may not have as much swagger or cocksure-kick as Shikari’s previous work, the album is incredible for a very different reason. The highly thought-out structure, experimentation with new sounds and the overbearing sense of musical maturity come from the fact that Enter Shikari have grown up. They’ve been through the loud, brash adolescent stage of their career, which was both exciting and unpredictable, and have come out the other side improved by it. If the band make the most of this new approach to their writing in their next release, its safe to say even after 12 years together, there are still some very exiting things yet to come from the band that consistently proves British hardcore music has a hell of a lot to offer.