Release Date: Sep 22, 2017
Record label: PIAS
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Post-Hardcore, Heavy Metal
Several things will always ring true about Enter Shikari and their latest album does nothing to change that. You can’t accuse the band of standing still, the extent to which they’ve evolved since their neon debut Take to the Skies is impressive. However, the jump in style from that album to Common Dreads was significant enough that a significant amount of their fans felt alienated.
Lots of musicians are busy making albums about the political chaos engulfing the world today, but only Enter Shikari’s Rou Reynolds has been driven to an all-out breakdown by it all. Finding his sporadic panic attacks – described on ‘An Ode To Lost Jigsaw Pieces’ as “a thundering pain” in his chest “like God’s in there having a migraine” – worsening as Brexit, terrorism, austerity, the dismantling of the NHS and Trump’s rule-by-toddler-tweet ramped up, Reynolds honed in on his personal political anguish for Shikari’s fifth album. And it’s a focus that’s helped the record become, potentially, their Biffy Clyro-style crossover classic..
Enter Shikari spark a fire and let it smoulder. The Spark comes equipped with a warning, one which falls right in that classic Shikari sweet spot between self-parody and steadfast belief they actually can change the world: Warning! This escalates quickly! That comes from "Rabble Rouser", closest to an old-school Take to the Skies banger on this whole thing; both song and line engineered to trick us into thinking that the album is about to cut loose and go hard in its second half. Instead, something far more interesting happens; Rou and the lads slow down, breathe in, and open up.
H ertfordshire four-piece Enter Shikari have been upending post-hardcore cliches since the days of MySpace, when they threw nu-rave, punk and pop in alongside throaty growls and discordant riffs. And while being unsigned is now the preferred route for many an emerging act, their decision to stay off the majors for several years seemed an act of rebellion in keeping with their indefinable sound. The Spark continues the shift that their 2015 album The Mindsweep .
Enter Shikari’s back-catalogue has always been a great dividing force in post-hardcore circles. On one hand, you have four guys who are immensely talented at producing scorching and technically pleasing hooks whilst retaining the groove and melody of modern electronic music, and on the other you have some truly shocking vocal tracks and a penchant for middle-class political cliché. The band’s first release Take to the Skies was the culmination of countless hours spent playing in a massing Hertfordshire hardcore scene, which regularly played host to the likes of Gallows, Don Broco and Your Demise.