Thursday, 2 February 2012
Enter Shikari - A Flash Flood of Colour
I’m going to put this out there with no shame at all; I liked Enter Shikari’s debut album ‘Take To The Skies’. I liked it a lot, in fact I still do. It was exciting, interesting, and rammed with energy. On ‘Common Dreads’ (bar a few tracks), they lost me, but there was clear ambition in it. A genuine attempt to do something interesting. It takes courage to make the music you want to make (although it takes slightly less when you know you’ve just got backing from a major record label and legions of fans who will buy whatever you release).
The bands 3rd album ‘A Flash Flood Of Colour’ starts fairly promisingly. Opener ‘System…’ is slightly cringey lyrically but it works well as an introduction, and fades excellently into ‘Meltdown’. However it’s here things take a turn for the worse. The “breakdown” 25 seconds into Meltdown is dire. It doesn’t work at all. The pattern is repeated in ‘Sssnakepit’, the opening is alright, but the “dubstep” drop and Rou Reynolds lyrics are just plain embarrassing. It’s a shame, because without it Sssnakepit would be a fairly good song (bar the “breakdown” obviously), the chorus is catchy as hell.
It seems unnecessary to deconstruct each track individually; they all have the same flaws. ‘Search Party’ isn’t massively exciting but had promise, until they throw in a terrible “breakdown” and wreck it. ‘Stalemate’ is, again, fairly harmless (bar the lyrics, we’ll get to them) but the over the top throbbing bassline is just unnecessary. Everything is just pushed too far, and it’s a shame because the essence of the band that wrote ‘Sorry, You’re Not A Winner’ are still here somewhere. The guitar work on this album never comes close to being as exciting as that riff, and at times if feels like they’re avoiding taking opportunities to do so.
Now, the lyrics. The band has clearly decided to take an even more political stance than before, but rather than lead to them discussing interesting points it’s just cringe-worthy. I’m in no position to judge whether or not they actually know what they’re talking about, but on AFFOC it makes them sound like 4 lads shouting “the system is bad” over and over. ‘Meltdown’ contains some of the worst moments, where we find Rou shouting the likes of “countries are just lines drawn in the sand with a stick”.
There’s a part of me that would like to commend the bands ambition. There’s no doubt that the music found here is exactly what they wanted to produce, they’ve made an album which sounds exactly how they want it. The problem comes when the ambition is pushed too far at every turn. The lyrics are bad, but I could take or leave that if the music was decent, but it’s just not. It’s poorly crafted; the “breakdowns” (both the guitar and synth ones) ruin any flow the song may have built up. The dubstep parts and hardcore parts rarely blend together at all, never mind well, and it leaves the feeling of a record that could have been good had the band not tried quite so hard to make something new.
Who knows? Maybe I just don’t get it.
By Sean Collison