The fourth full-length studio release from Enter Shikari , entitled ‘The Mindsweep’, follows on from a trio of albums that have garnered a loyal following for the quartet hailing from St.Albans.
Enter Shikari are no strangers to genre hopping, and over the course of four albums that have been released since 2007 they have tried a multitude of things. One thing that hasn’t changed is the messages that are found in each song that frontman Rou Reynolds has penned. Lyrically, Enter Shikari have always drawn from political themes and executed it really well. ‘The Mindsweep’ is no different, and it’s clear that they are still on the top of their game lyrically.
Opening track, The Appeal and the Mindsweep I is a song that is initially remnant of something spoken word artist Scroobius Pip might have written. The familiar guitar work of Rory Clewlow appears, coupling with Rob Rolfe’s drumming and Rou’s distinctive vocals remind you just who you’re listening to. The One True Colour follows this, and the pairing brings back fond memories of debut album ‘Take To The Skies’. Similarities in structure and delivery from previous albums is notable, however the songs that do sound familiar somehow manage to sound bigger and more engulfing despite similarities. This ensures that ‘The Mindsweep’ will leave not just a mark, but a crater of its own to be remembered by.
The Last Garrison features some old school Shikari that is layered with intricate synth, and it all comes together to craft one of the catchiest choruses that will have you involuntarily bobbing your head to the contagious beat. There’s A Price On Your Head on the other hand is a disappointment. Simply too frantic and hectic, utilising insane time signatures and an array of weird percussion and a strange string section at the end but it just doesn’t gel well as a song.
The saviour comes in the form of Dear Future Historians… Rou’s voice is accompanied solely by delicate piano and occasional guitar swells, which is very different, even for a softer Shikari song. It’s miles away from everything else on the album; but somehow, it just works. It’s a song about finding the things that mean something to you in life, even if it’s not something monumental. “Just put your weight on my shoulders//for when I dive into your iris// my brain erupts into biochemical mayhem// And I feel like a man with two hearts.” In true Shikari style, the last two minutes of the song explode into a cacophony of noise, frantic drumming, intricate guitars and signature group vocals. Without a shadow of a doubt, it is up there with the best of what Enter Shikari have penned together.
For those familiar with the band, ‘The Mindsweep’ will feel like home, to others, it may take a bit to get used to. Underneath the initially intimidating and brash sounds, there are gems to be found if you just stick with it.