Enter Shikari
The Spark


3.8
excellent

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
September 21st, 2017 | 211 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Enter Shikari spark a fire and let it smoulder.

The Spark comes equipped with a warning, one which falls right in that classic Shikari sweet spot between self-parody and steadfast belief they actually can change the world: Warning! This escalates quickly! That comes from "Rabble Rouser", closest to an old-school Take to the Skies banger on this whole thing; both song and line engineered to trick us into thinking that the album is about to cut loose and go hard in its second half. Instead, something far more interesting happens; Rou and the lads slow down, breathe in, and open up.

I mean, nothing's particularly wrong with that first half, either. It sounds like Enter Shikari interpreting Bloc Party's Hymns through a filter of not absolute garbage, songs relying on glitzy electronics to drop massive earworms and finishing quickly. It's not far off the dreaded 'x goes pop' nightmare that has metalcore fans over the globe waking up in a cold sweat, sure, but at the very least you know when Enter Shikari go any genre they're gonna go the entire damn way, with "The Sights" and "Live Outside" boasting the hugest choruses the band has ever written. Rou's constantly improving vocals showcase a range and power which forego the shallower tendencies of the music, and the relationship-heavy subject matter is far easier to connect to than Rou's Rant #666 (which quickly arrives in the form of the tepid "Take My Country Back", if you were holding your breath). The album comes into its own with the arrival of "Airfield", a delicate work of piano sculpted from the hardest porcelain, cut from the same cloth as "Constellations" and "Adieu". Shikari have always been at their best when they drop moments of sincere beauty into the pulsating temple-throbbing pit (just check out Chris' bridge on "Hectic" for a start), so "Airfield" and "An Ode to Lost Jigsaw Pieces" double down on reminding us that behind the accents, political raving and nudge-nudge-humour are human guys capable of delivering some of the more unexpected emotional beats of the year.

Nevertheless it's not a real Enter Shikari album without a couple songs fully leaning into their birthright – that is, schizophrenic genre-hopping nonsense – so "Shinrin-yoku" and "The Revolt of the Atoms" see the band cut all anchors to the land of logical song progressions. The former builds from a lovely horns-led beginning to the most powerful crescendo of the year, while the latter pairs satanic falsetto chanting and a voice message from the end of time with scattered synapse electronics like the band is summoning some heathen digital god. Undeniably, it's tempting to see The Spark as Shikari-lite, a poppy album which forsakes the sound and fury which made the boys so interesting in the first place. But making the same album twice is anathema here, and the sound of the band isolating the human element and expanding it into their most beautiful, focused work to date is a wonder to behold. And hey, just as every "Airfield" is followed by a filthy "Rabble Rouser", and every "Jigsaw Pieces" ends in the sound of a fucking apocalyptic meltdown, you will leave knowing that the old Enter Shikari never went away.



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user ratings (131)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
September 21st 2017


39503 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

and it was that day he realised he would never escape the bands he loved as a teenager

Digging: Glassjaw - Material Control

NorwichScene
September 21st 2017


2386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

10 hours until the album is out. I expect 3.5 rating

Lucid
September 21st 2017


8757 Comments


lol at listening to this band in 2017

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
September 21st 2017


13355 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

in ok with this review. will be listening to this as soon as it comes out



lol at loling at people listening to this band still as if they ever went away or havent changed lol

Digging: Coughs - Fright Makes Right

Groundking
September 21st 2017


333 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Listened to a low quality leak through once, don't really like it, will give it a few more spins when it's on Spotify tomorrow.



Good review.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
September 21st 2017


39503 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

was wondering how long until you popped up mort haha



for what it's worth I think this is their best behind Common Dreads

ProjectFreak
September 21st 2017


2238 Comments


I _hated_ Minesweep but I'll try this because this is a good review and Rowan can't be completely wrong...right?

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
September 21st 2017


39503 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

eh... haha... yeah definitely never happened before shifty_eyes



I think Minesweep 2: Minesweep Is Personal was ok but pretty boring and this is much better tho

grindcorecore
September 21st 2017


617 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've had a bad week and I dead ass started crying listening to An Ode to Lost Jigsaw Pieces

Storm In A Teacup
September 21st 2017


22356 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh im soooo fucking excited to hear this, good review! :-)

sempiturtle
September 21st 2017


1152 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is gonna end up their lowest rated album but I think it's one of their best tbh.

Digging: The Dear Hunter - All Is As All Should Be

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
September 21st 2017


39503 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

the second half is powerful as fuck agreed grind



thanks lads

Storm In A Teacup
September 21st 2017


22356 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

it's the verge of fall AND a new Enter Shikari album. i almost feel emotion.

Spacesh1p
September 21st 2017


7195 Comments


Didn't this guy get charged with securities fraud?

Digging: Deadbeat - Drawn and Quartered

AsleepInTheBack
September 21st 2017


5182 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hypehypehypehypehype

this should be fun

great write up too

SweeneyTodd
September 21st 2017


1474 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I'll end up 5'ing this because of who I am as a person and my personal connection to this band, but really nice review, glad to see people are enjoying it, always thought this band was too fondly thought of by staff

Digging: Glassjaw - Material Control

SteakByrnes
September 21st 2017


5123 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Does Rou do any skrems?



Nice review boyo

Digging: Ghost Atlas - All Is In Sync, and There's Nothing Left to Sing

coma2rium
September 21st 2017


58 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah this is way better than I thought it would be. Once I sort of accepted that they dropped the heavy aspects for this album it became super enjoyable. It's almost like A Flash Flood of Colour done properly.



Shinrin Yoku and An Ode to Lost Jigsaw Pieces are ace.

Crawl
September 21st 2017


2404 Comments


What a pleasant surprise, considering I didn't like Live Outside very much.

Digging: Citizen - As You Please

Beardog
September 21st 2017


1618 Comments


I loved Live Outside but I thought Rabble Rouser was super repetitive. Still excited for a new record, I liked the Mindsweep



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