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Album Review: Enter Shikari - A Flash Flood Of Colour

St Albans, known as an affluent suburb of London and the home of many of the city’s rich and successful, may not seem the most obvious of starting points for one of the UK’s politically vocal acts. But old Albanians Enter Shikari, since their breakthrough in the middle of the last decade; have evolved from hyped post-hardcore teens, into one of the most socio-conscious acts plying their trade on the scene today.

The jump in tone between the band's debut album 'Take To The Skies' and their 2009’s sophomore record 'Common Dreads' took some getting used to. It’s a topic that proves divisive to this day among their fan base, some of which are uneasy at having such angsty ideals hollered from their speakers. But, for every fan disillusioned with the evolution of Rou Reynolds and co, there are more that see Shikari as one of the only true innovative bands around, and hang on every provocative word.

And, in truth, it’s not simply the subject matter that’s changed as we reach 2012 and the release of their third full-length offering 'A Flash Flood Of Colour'. The 4-piece’s sound has shown a dramatic development from its dance-core origins, with less emphasis on Reynolds' course screams that marked their early work, replaced by more audible vocals and constant nods to the thing they call ‘dubstep’.

It’s a blistering start, gargantuan tracks ‘Meltdown…’ and lead single ‘Sssnakepit’ propelling 'AFFOC' into action. The former especially has a powerful anthemic edge, and yearns to be performed in a live setting, the cries of ‘it’s not too late, it’s not too late’ inspiring a unity that’s, surely, best achieved in a seething mosh pit, the type that Shikari do best.

The record is a string of venomous attacks on the governance of planet earth and the issues of the modern day. Whether it’s the sordid international fight for oil on ‘Arguing With Thermometers’, or the contradictions of the establishment and society on the brutally forthright ‘Gandhi Mate, Gandhi’, Enter Shikari have pulled no punches.

And the Hertfordshire boys aren’t afraid of trying their hand at something a bit more subtle, and in the rousing closer ‘Constellations’ they have penned perhaps their most thoughtful work to date. A final push towards the band’s ethos of unity, the track is beautifully judged and imaginatively built, providing a sense of finality for the record that fits perfectly.

Music so often details subjects and stories that have been told time and again in one way or another. With the major label machine so concerned with limiting the creative spark of their artists and dumbing down their products to create and dictate their own markets, it’s energizing to hear artists who have purpose and ethos, something that critics of Enter Shikari’s style would do well to remember.


Liam McGarry

'A Flash Flood Of Colour' is out January 17th through Hopeless Records.

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