Enter Shikari is a band that is no stranger to change. As their fifth studio album is released it appears that Rou Reynolds and company have evolved from their hardcore roots to deliver their most emotionally mature release to date, all whilst retaining their usual politically motivated edge as they perform to world on the brink.
After the release of singles ‘Live Outside’ and ‘Rabble Rouser’ it was evident that the album would be as sonically versatile as ever. The band has dabbled with their genre over their career, usually finding a perfect balance of hardcore and electronic and these singles demonstrated that. ‘Live Outside’ being a synth pop anthem and ‘Rabble Rouser’ channeling the electro-rock stylings of The Prodigy, a balance is found. However returning to my earlier point, the album is a lot more mature. ‘Airfield’ delivers a piano ballad that builds with each second towards an emotionally satisfying conclusion. There’s a lot of doubt and fear to be found in Rou’s writing and who can blame him. In a post-Brexit Britain themes of austerity and collapse are at the forefront but there’s hope to be found in each track. Upon the first few listens I found the emotional complexity jarring compared to their earlier work but as time passed it settled into a more insightful and cathartic experience.
An unprecedented level of scale is found within the narratives that the band are weaving, allowing for growth into concepts that the band have yet to tackle before but still allowing for the occasional self referential sample to past work. The Spark feels like the next logical step in the world that the band has been building since their debut release, Take To The Skies. With hook driven catchiness and polished mixing this album has the ability to be accessible to new fans whilst delighting old.
The Spark by Enter Shikari is out now via Ambush Reality