I decided to write this review because this album has been quite a roller coaster ride listen for me and I have a lot of gripes. I'm a huge fan of the first album which successfully spliced harcore dance and hardcore which at the time they started doing it was a new thing (although other bands have now gone on to do this but none were as successful as Enter Shikari), so when I heard Enter Shikari were releasing a new album I thought; brilliant!
The album kicks off with the title track and you immediately realise Enter Shikari has changed. The track is a patchwork of samples saying...well not much. Just saying we should unite. Against what? Common dreads apparently. What are these common dreads? I'm not sure. I don't think they know what they are talking about. But then it hits you; the realisation Enter Shikari have lost one of the most important elements of their music: fun.
The second track 'Solidarity' kicks in with a great synth line promising a corker of a track but it doesn't seem to happen, a great intro is followed by a song which just doesn't know what style it is or where it's going. There's no coherence, no concentration and as a result the listener feels inclined to change the track after about a minute.
This is one of the key problems on this album; it's confused. This affects a lot of the tracks, notably the single Juggernaut which goes from a fantastic, energetic, poppy chorus with some lovely vocal harmonies to a cringeworthy attempt to mimic the Streets with more politically motivated lyrics. This time the topic seems to be consumerism but the ideas are not put forward in a way which makes you think they believe in what they are saying.
The album moves on in a banal way, with only a few moments of interest between 'Juggernaut' and penultimate track 'Hectic'; the uplifting pop chorus of 'Wall' (with it's weird clunky key change), the dubstep influenced basslines of the two Havoc tracks (although it's interesting it's not that good until the guitars come in on Havoc B) and the fun of the second half of 'The Jester' although really that track should have been kept as live only.
When you finally get to 'Hectic' it's a welcome relief from the borefest of the rest of the album. Yes this track is different to the first album, not hardcore in the slightest but yet it shows Enter Shikari excelling in sing along melodies, catchy synth hooks which could have come straight out of a hardcore (the dance one) track and lyrics about the fun of every day teenage life.
'Hectic' is an example of what they COULD have made this album. A fun dance/rock mix with lyrics people can relate to. It's not complicated, it's not deep, it's not politically motivated, it's just good, simple fun.
That's the downfall of this album; it's not simple, they've tried to make it too complicated, tried to mix too many styles. It makes for a jarring listen of up and down moment where one idea sounds like it's about to really take off into a great track but then it suddenly changes style. As for putting political lyrics into the mix? It's commendable in our apathetic times but there's no clear message uniting the album and it all seems a bit naive, besides I think the average Enter Shikari fan cares more about their appearance than politics.
Joined: 08 Jun 2007
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
I enjoyed reading the review. Good write up. Unfortunately I only know Enter Shikari from one live show on a big festival I saw them play. I thought there was a DJ performing but it turned out to be a band hehe.
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