Enter Shikari

The Mindsweep

Written by: TL on 13/01/2015 17:24:39

Love them, hate them or know not of them, British 'ravecore' pioneers Enter Shikari are a group out of the ordinary, if for no other reason then for being among the few to thrive past the collapse of Myspace, the platform they first made their fame on. Finding the primary inspirations for their band in the live energies of both hardcore shows and all out raves, you could argue that the band has less made "songs" and more made sequences of rowdy ideas, mixing musical oil and water in atmospheres that have consistently served as frantic settings for frontman Rou Reynold's ever socio-critical ranting.

With literally no other noteworthy bands in the world doing anything at all similar to the quartet, the need to change their style significantly over the past couple of albums has not been pressing, and finding them now at their fourth - titled "The Mindsweep" - they still haven't. The guitar parts are slightly less hard-hitting than at a proper hardcore show, and the electronic elements are far more schizophrenic and disrupted than in your typical EDM track, but they meet in the attempt both genres make at encouraging the listener to let go and flail around while dancing erratically. Meanwhile, exaggerated vocals are traded between all members of the band, with spoken word, tender singing, hysterical melodies and comical growling all finding their places in the cacophony.

As such all is as it were on "The Mindsweep", yet closer inspection of the album reveals it to actually have somewhat less to offer than the previous album, "A Flash Flood Of Colour" from 2012. The first single "The Last Garrison" is still absolutely worth making note of though, standing firm above the rest of the album's twelve tracks, with a frantic opening that soon settles down into an irresistible, arcade-like groove, before the insistent ringing of high synth notes calls you back to the action of the chorus once more. At track four however, the song is surrounded by a whole lot of hit and miss material. "The One True Colour" goes through rampant tempo changes before finally finding a pleasant melody that ends the track in balladic fashion, while "Anaesthetist" and "Never Let Go Of The Microscope" channel some properly dystopian moods quite convincingly, yet feel like they take too long before arriving at the dramatic climax of the latter.

These tracks all crowd together on the record's first half, and while the later "Torn Apart" builds an almost orchestral ending from what starts as a simple guitar riff and synth signature, things otherwise feel lacklustre on the latter half of the release. "The Bank Of England" has some noteworthy guitarwork as its foundation, but feels simple compared to some of the band's previous work, and particularly in "Myopia" and "There's A Price On Your Head", the wild energy of the tracks feels hollow in lieu of either the type of melodies or the noteworthy transitions that have defined the band's best work. It's as if the guitar-based parts are just generic and the electronics only provide some ambiance because it has to be there.

This new record then, seems like the product of a less inspired time in Enter Shikari's career than its predecessor. Where "A Flash Flood Of Colour" seemed like an album bursting with all kinds of musical homages to both the hard- and metalcore and the dubstep of the time, "The Mindsweep" seems patched together and extrapolated from either leftover ideas or sparse new ones. Admittedly there are a few tracks that are enjoyable enough in passing, but aside from "The Last Garrison" and "The One True Colour", it seems questionable how many other cuts it will feel worthwhile coming back to in the future.

Download: The Last Garrison, The One True Colour, Never Let Go Of The Microscope, Anaesthetist
For The Fans Of: The Prodigy, Pendulum, InnerPartySystem
Listen: facebook.com/entershikari

Release date 19.01.2015
Play It Again Sam

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