25 January 2015

Enter Shikari - The Mindsweep

This is a band that has really passed me by/I have not quite got if I am honest, I remember when Enter Shikari first started and I was not fussed one way or another.  Musically, a combination of metal and electronica is nothing really new and for what they were doing, it was nothing that was floating my boat.  But they have obviously found an audience as their previous three album have all entered the UK top 20 (two of them have been top ten entries).  They have been making waves around the world, touring around this globe and it is with this in mind that I approach their fourth release 'The Mindsweep'.  Maybe time away from trying to get the band will have changed my opinion of them, maybe it will reinforce my opinion - only way to find out is to get on with the review.

The opening track is called "The Appeal & the Mindsweep I", it starts with a small amount of feedback, some strange loops and a call to arms to everyone on the planet to come to the defence of the planet.  It sounds a little cheesy to be honest; but the more I thought about the song, the words are no cheesier than Scroobius Pip and some of the things he has came out with and I love his stuff.  The music when it kicks in has more in common with hardcore acts and shouty punk, the rave seems to be kept to a minimum and when it is used it is to very good effect.  It might take a little while to find its legs, but it is a very good opening track.  Next is "The One True Colour" and like a combination of Comeback Kid, +44 and Pendulum; it has a brilliant hook riff and chorus that it is hard not to smile whilst it is playing.  It really did surprise me how good this sounded compared to when I first heard them, it is a massive improvement.  Granted a few times on this song, it slows down just a tad too much; but overall it is another good song.  "Anaesthetist" is the third number, this song really could have been a discarded track made by the Prodigy around the time of 'Fat of the Land' apart from the post-hardcore chorus.  I will be honest and say this is not for me, but I have heard a hell of a lot worse.  "The Last Garrison" is the fourth track on offer here, starting with a cleaning intro before the post-hardcore/rave mixture comes to the forefront and the very catchy chorus section; it sort of dissipates and loses focus, which is a shame as it started off with such promise.

"Never Let Go of the Microscope" follows on from "The Last Garrison" and it is aiming for a more drifting and melodic approach, with lyrics about the world being too for granted and never letting go of the microscope (I think it is a metaphor for having the ability to look at things in minute detail). It spends the first three quarters of the song rapping and sounding very lethargic, until the end when the guitars and shouting coming in.  But overall it is another song which is forgettable to be honest, I have had no desire to reply it outside of the review and it does not still in the memory.  "Myopia" starts off with a similar style, gentle keys and then mixes the rave and rock; however on this song it is done much better.  The balance between the elements of hardcore, rave and gentle trip-hop is just right - it is a strange beast to combine and it is done with ease on this number.  A much needed injection of energy for this album.  "Torn Apart" is another strange one that should not work (for me at least), I love how they get the mix just right here, the rock/hardcore element it not too overpowering for the keyboards and singing and vice versa.  It just works on a subtle level and once again paints the band in a better light; then it is followed by the track called "interlude" - it does what it says on the tin and you have about a minute worth of keys.

Following on is the swaggering track called "The Bank of England", this is a swirling song with takes its time to make the main point of the track.  A song about the Bank of England being destroyed and all the money being burnt; it is an exotic image for some people to be honest.  It builds on a riff, a subtle loop and then by the end when they unleash their full potential (unlike on "Never Let Go of the Microscope"), it feels a lot more complete and solid - a much better effort that keeps up the better work that has been going on here.  "There Is A Price On Your Head" is a System of A Down song in disguise, it just sounds like it was done by the Armenian American band and it is as powerful as anything that they did on their last few albums as well (btw - SOAD - get on with a new album!!!).  It ends with some wonderful strings and swirling synth noise.  Penultimate track "Dear Future Historians..." is a piano introduced song which has a wonderful sense of lost potential in someways; the singer admitting to people he will never met about things he had not done, but offers his shoulders as a place to put their feet as they make their own discovers.  It is aiming for greatness and I am sure that some people will find this to be true; it does not quite make it to that level for me, but I can appreciate the effort and still find it to be a good song.  Ending the album is "The Appeal & the Mindsweep II"; this is an instant firecracker of noise, hardcore & rave that the band has made their calling card.  It ends the album with a bang and I think that is the best place to end it.

I will be honest here; this is not an album I think I will be returning to anytime soon.  There is a few track on here which perk my interest up, it is also has a lot of filler and musically it does not hit all the right buttons for me.  However, I would also like to state that it is not an album which I think is a poor record either.  You cannot deny the production of the album is of a good quality and when the band gets it right, it is very exciting; but the rave/post-hardcore combination is not for me. My opinion of the band has improved, but again I would not be going out of my way to listen to them again.  File under - this is really not for me, but it is better than anything from X Factor and Nicki Minaj.

6 out of ten - Now I see where you were going, but not quite there

Top track - There Is A Price On Your Head

You can purchase the album from Amazon here

You can visit the Enter Shikari website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

Here is a link to listen to the album on Deezer here, if that is the platform your platform of choice

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