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Enter Shikari - The Spark (Album Review)

Friday, 22 September 2017 Written by Alec Chillingworth

“Enough. Our next album will bring our message to the masses. I want to reach as many people as possible. We will give this everything. No more self-indulgence. We’re coming for you narcissistic pop. We will replace you.”

Bold words from Rou Reynolds last year. Because we’ve heard this kind of rhetoric before. “It’s heavier, but more melodic”. “It’s like the old material mixed with what we’re doing now”. “It’s like [insert album/band]… on CRACK!” Hyperbole rules in this business, and when Enter Shikari’s frontman broadcast that message on Twitter late last year, it could’ve been taken with a pinch of salt.

‘The Spark’, album five from the genre-melding rockers, could’ve easily gone the way of Bring Me The Horizon’s ‘That’s The Spirit’: an ambitious attempt at broadening the scope and appeal of their music but one that ultimately assimilated into the mainstream.

But Enter Shikari haven’t done that. This is not the electro-tinged hardcore they made their name with, but the venom’s still there - occasionally in the places you’d expect, too.

Take My Country Back’s four-to-the-floor, punk trappings are laced with heartfelt, defiant lyrics – Reynolds’ cry of “Don’t want to take my country back, I want to take my country forward” is a perfect summation of the year or so of Brexit idiocy the UK’s experienced.

Rabble Rouser’s jungly wobble more than lives up to its name, too, with big bass and a winning falsetto throughout the chorus making it a creepy dancefloor hit in an alternate universe. But then you pick apart the rest of the record – the parts Reynolds was referencing in his tweet last year.

These aren’t hits made for an alternate universe. These are hits made for 2017, if only the audience cares to listen. They build on the band’s unique sound with vintage layers from popular music’s greatest moments. Lead single Live Outside is the obvious example – it takes the dark, subversive pop of Pet Shop Boys and adds that Shikari lens. This isn’t a record tied to post-hardcore or punk or whatever, and that’s what makes it so joyous.

The Revolt of the Atoms is Kraftwerkian in both its vocoder-laden intro and robotic rumbling, but then it launches into a chorus that’s essentially a two-tone gem. It’s totally natural, though. There are no shoehorns nor spanners to be found here, and when the track disintegrates, it’s just as hard-hitting as anything from the band’s ‘Take To The Skies’ days.  

And there’s no filler here. It’s in and out in 42 minutes, losing any fat that’s dripped from Shikari’s previous records. They have a sound. You know it’s them. But by doing away with the jittery, sometimes sporadic shifts in genre, they’ve created their strongest, most consistent body of work to date. It’s one that will hopefully achieve what Reynolds set out to do.

Enter Shikari Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Thu November 16 2017 - LIVERPOOL Liverpool Echo Arena
Fri November 17 2017 - CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena Cardiff
Sat November 18 2017 - NOTTINGHAM Motorpoint Arena
Sun November 19 2017 - NEWCASTLE Metro Radio Arena
Tue November 21 2017 - MANCHESTER Victoria Warehouse
Wed November 22 2017 - BRIGHTON Centre
Fri November 24 2017 - BIRMINGHAM Arena Birmingham
Sat November 25 2017 - LONDON Alexandra Palace

Click here to compare & buy Enter Shikari Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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