Published in the Hindu Metroplus/Sunday Magazine in February 2012.
Enter Shikari – A Flash Flood of Colour (EMI 2012)
There’s something delectably cutting edge about a lot of British bands. They either start out with a formula and redefine the wheel, or get the critic’s appraisal by standing out with a refreshing sound. Enter Shikari probably fit into the former category. Their latest album ‘A Flash Flood of Colour’ is a political commentary in many ways that does not simply make it a rant-filled album of eleven songs.
One would think any music that incorporates dubstep, electronica and post-hardcore would have angsty kids slam dancing, but vocalist Roughton ‘Rou’ Reynolds preaches more than he parties on this album. Carrying on the thread from 2009’s ‘Common Dreads’, the band has much to say about the affairs of the British state.
In the process of doing so, they try to tell listeners exactly the kind of fun their having – with the usual banter that’s included in their songs. The lead single ‘Sssnakepit’ has some of that banter, and ‘Gandhi Mate, Gandhi’ takes its title from a douser one of the members tells Rou after a rant leaves him red with rage. That explains why it’s the most anarchist song on the album.
‘Arguing with Thermometers’ follows the lead single formula, except with more pep and a dance vibe. The messages are strong whether screamed or sung melodically – and ‘Stalemate’ is proof of that, being almost stripped down in its absence of electronic squelches. Instead, the song ends with soft piano notes with Rou singing even softer: “I’ll live out this fantasy.”
Guitarist Liam ‘Rory’ Clewlow churns out a monster riff in ‘Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here’ when the initial dance-floor drumming turns into one of the most chaotic. This track is bound to be one for the moshpit.
But they save heaviest for last with ‘Hello Tyrannosaurus, Meet Tyrannicide’ being as hardcore as it gets, complete with a signature discourse from Rou: “Hello Tyrannosaurus, meet Tyrannicide, you haven’t read your history have you?/Just regurgitated lies/ And everything taught to you, no man is too tall/ You can grow but remember, empires always fall .”
The album ends with the lesson that is ‘Constellations’ with a symphonic ballad set to machine gun drumming from Rob Wolfe.
It’s anthemic, heavy, angry and catchy all when it needs to be. At various points I begin to wonder if Enter Shikari is trying to emulate Rage Against the Machine, except that they are preaching to a generation that is growing up on entirely different music. ‘A Flash Flood of Colour’ sees the band play light on several songs, but also push the boundaries of electronica and hardcore fusions at other points.