Album of the Year
The Spark – Enter Shikari
I’m utterly biased and make no excuses for it. When an artist repeatedly generates music that speaks to you, you engage with it on a whole different level to any other band. I first got a glimpse of Enter Shikari in 2008. We’d gone on holiday to Cyprus and an emo kid was sat in the airport plugged into her second generation iPod with headphones blaring out Take To The Skies. It was ace. I was blown away. Common Dreads came with a more developed sound destined for the charts. I was seeing hope and felt I’d got to an age where I could be effective and heard. The violence of A Flash Flood of Colour tackled the government; I became politicised. Like a pressure cooker with no release, The Mindsweep really hammered home the failures of the government. I was working in the public sector, and seeing this play out first-hand meant that the lyrics really connected with me. The last year has been an emotional upheaval. It’s been tough, and at one of the lowest points ‘Live Outside‘ was released.
Like a familiar blanket that you find at the top of the airing cupboard hidden behind the towels, I grabbed hold of that track and played it constantly. Something that seemed to understand. The Spark lacks political punch. It lacks dancefloor dubstep awesomeness. It’s a much calmer, more self-indulgent affair which contains mild urgency, but a lot of bitterness. ‘Take My Country Back‘ lashes out against everything. ‘Rabble Rouser‘ is one long prick tease with multiple trap drops. Then there’s the softer side of things; ‘Airfield‘ for instance. There aren’t any bangers on here because that’s just not where they were emotionally. We’ve all had enough. We’re done in.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve listened to this album. Easily upwards of 250. It literally couldn’t have come at a more perfect time to get me through the last few months. As with previous albums paralleling what I was experiencing, so did this. And I’m very grateful for it. It helped me to keep busy. Keep my mind occupied on the here and now. This isn’t the most ground breaking of the year, but this my album of the year.
Top 3 Albums of the Year
Hot Change – Biscuit Mouth
Hypopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia – hypochristmutreefuzz
Material Control – Glassjaw