Enter Shikari are well known for their outspoken politics and brazen verbosity – neatly slotted in-between pleasingly uncomfortable drops and a medley of post-hardcore-electronic mania. Their latest release The Mindsweep does not disappoint in this department. It is no surprise that the Hertforshire quartet show innovation and talent in every track, their raw individuality the mark that separates them from the crowd.
The album starts with the clear intent to incite a revolution with the rousing opening “This is an appeal”. The track, ‘The Appeal & The Mindsweep I’, cleverly combines inspiring spoken word and angry hardcore drops whilst setting up the expected political theme of the album.
This pseudo-intellectual rap expresses strong concern about the rate and implications of human discovery, but without the album’s early angry punch
The following three tracks follow in a provocative mix and begin to delve into the woes of the world, but not too clearly. ‘The One True Colour’, with its uncomfortable cyclical sound, moves past innovative and creative to plain confusing. The third and most played track of the album ‘The Anaesthetist’ is notable in its cause. Beautifully paraphrasing Aneurin Bevan, the creator himself, this song honours the National Health Service and puts forward a heartfelt defiance of its privatisation. At this point we hear Enter Shikari’s most typical sound perfectly summed up and bottled for our approval.
Fourth track ‘The Last Garrison’ follows in this in-your-face rebellious sound, acting as a rallying cry to raise the roof. It is undeniable that Rou Reynolds, lead singer of Enter Shikari, is a poetic master and nothing exemplifies his oratory eloquence better than ‘Never Let Go of the Microscope’. As the album progresses the mood changes and the lyrical themes become more and more heavily politicised, this track being no exception. This pseudo-intellectual rap expresses strong concern about the rate and implications of human discovery, but without the album’s early angry punch. The mood slows further with ‘Myopia’, a song about human bearing on wildlife, until the track jumps from soft and thoughtful, to hardcore and hostile.
The song ‘Torn Apart’ is a fast paced and emotive remembrance of interracial struggles that have plagued human history, and then the rather odd and rocky ‘Bank of England’ discusses what its title implies.
What we get from this album is nothing unexpected of Enter Shikari in terms of sound and approach, with the typical strong political messages and hardcore-electronica influences. Overall though, it lacks identity and mainly inspires a confusion rather than a revolution. In places its attempts feel laboured, and it is hardly innovative in comparison to Enter Shikari’s past work. This isn’t to say it isn’t a lyrical and technical masterpiece in many respects, but, as is often the case on an Enter Shikari record, there’s just too much going on.