Review Summary: I think Enter Shikari have proven why they had to sign themselves.
Enter Shikari rose from absolutely nothing and created themselves through their independance and individuality when they brought a brand new sound to teenagers a few years ago. They sold out Astoria whilst still unsigned, put on some great energetic live shows and released a decent debut album with Take To The Skies.
Enter Shikari pick up right where they left off at the end of Take To The Skies, their previous album. A quick look and it's obvious that they've tried to re-create the formula of TTTS with having an album intro and several interludes placed around the album, and having an extensive track count of 15 songs - only two less than TTTS. Already it feels as if Enter Shikari had absolutely no idea of what to do with this album and only recorded it to keep the glow-stick waving generation of teenagers happy.
Listening through this record though, it becomes even clearer that this is terrible. Painful vocals and boring guitars mixed together with average drums and some slightly decent synths go together to make one of the most unenjoyable listens of 2009 so far. Enter Shikari seemed to want some change with this so the lead singer Rou Reynolds started rapping some lines, for example, in Hectic
, Rou raps a bit and comes off as if he was copying that guy from Hadouken. In fact, a lot of the synths and trance arrangements sound as if they were stolen from Hadoukens' 'Music For An Accelerated Culture' - Which isn't much to be proud of.
More into my point of how they seem to be repeating themselves however, it seems some of the songs are bad rip-offs of their earlier songs. For example, the intro of Solidarity
seems to be a sped up and slightly altered intro of Anything Can Happen In The Next Half Hour
from Take To The Skies, Fanfare For The Conscious Man
has a slightly Johnny Sniper-esque intro, and Gap In The Fence
seems to be the Adieu
of the album. Now that might not be so bad, I could get into the songs on Take To The Skies, but it just seems as if they took them not so bad songs and killed them completely, and instead of burying them like they should have, they've put them on CD's and sold them to kids. That's no better than taking advantage of the handicapped.
Rou's vocals seem to have become worse, something which I didn't think was possible. On Take To The Skies, his voice was pretty bad but it went alright with the music. Now he's taken on rapping and spoken-word techniques and nearly given up the raspy screams, they're still here but less frequent. The spoken-worded parts and rapped lines are extremely pointless as they seem to make the album worse than it already is. I think they added them for effect but bearing in mind, Enter Shikari always seemed like a novelty, fun type of band, they carry no real meaning and it doesn't feel right with Enter Shikari singing or speaking lyrics which are supposed to be about important topics; such as the political underline there seems to be with Common Dreads
. When Rou does sing, it doesn't sound too bad, it's not great but it's not unbearable either.
Overall, it is a bland attempt at re-creating something which should only have been done once. I can't see too much that's right with this album because nothing stands out to me here whereas with Take To The Skies, there was a lot more to like about it, even if it was just the novelty. Common Dreads
makes me ask myself who on earth gave these guys a recording contract, but then I remembered...
They made their own record label and gave themselves one.