Post-hardcore dubstep mash-up merchants Enter Shikari have a new album on offer in the form of A Flash Flood of Colour and according to the British chart forming public it’s a doozy. Charting at number four this week, the sound may be more polished than their previous efforts but they haven’t lost their edge entirely. The angry political chants of front man Rou Reynolds are still ever present, mingled with his more melodic vocals that make a few tracks ready for radio and leaving the rest to be faithfully raved along to in basements and bedrooms.
There’s something undoubtedly light-hearted about these guys that makes their serious and persistent politics-pushing lyrics sound somewhat out-of-place, interlaced as Rou’s outcries are with dubstep breakdowns and singsong refrains. At least it makes a change from the usual love/hate boy/girl themes of the rest of the current musical hits. The track Gandhi Mate, Gandhi does acknowledge Rou’s extreme levels of anger with a comedy interjection half way through, telling him to calm down and just “Remember Gandhi” – an element sorely needed to prevent his heartfelt words turning into contrived preaches.
…Enter Shikari have a lot of influences behind them, put all those together with Rou at the helm and what comes out, if a little hectic, is undoubtedly their own.
Another trait the band has on their side is their unapologetic British attitude and sound that so many of the mainstream acts are forsaking these days for some sort of inexplicable Californian sheen. It is refreshing to find a group in this vein not forever gazing in the mirror and marvelling at each other’s sleeves.
While listening to the album for the first time I could not help wracking my brain to place who several tracks reminded me of. I ended up deciding on The Streets and early Lostprophets: fellow Brit-rockers who in the end just didn’t manage to avoid that massive chasm called pop (to be polite). There’s no doubt Enter Shikari have a lot of influences behind them, but put all those together with Rou at the helm and what comes out, if a little hectic, is undoubtedly their own.
…Gandhi – an odd singsong rap [which] begins a quirky, catchy, unique track that above all sounds unmistakably English, despite its title.
Arguing with Thermometers and Warm Smiles are tracks both tinged with elements of their debut sound – melody, trademark barks and the underlying electro-rock bed. Pack of Thieves is another good effort, feeling to me like a pop song revved up with guitar and a shout-not-sing doctrine. Of the new stock, Hello Tyrannosaurus would fit most seamlessly in with their 2007 release, Take to the Skies. Constellations is a chillout track while the Serial Killer remix travels in the other direction, beginning with a reggae vibe but soon hitting hard with the standard fare of fast remix formats intercut with vocal samples.
Stalemate begins acoustic, radio friendly and in all honesty a bit wishy-washy. It does build to something at least with some of the familiar rage about it and then ends with a piano, so I’m just impressed it wasn’t their automatic first single. Quelle surprise – along with Gandhi – stands out for me. An odd singsong rap begins a quirky, catchy, unique track that above all sounds unmistakably English, despite its title.
So having set out in 2003, gathering three studio albums under their belts and a taste of mainstream success in their mouths, Enter Shikari have managed to hold onto their original vibe, built on it and polished it. Let’s just hope they don’t overdo the shoe-shine for their fourth.