As a huge Enter Shikari fan, I was anticipating their latest release with excitement. The Mindsweep is a unique album and it is evident that they still keep on, as they succinctly put it, “Abusing music’s worthless genre boundaries”. Their music tends to fall into any particular genre, as they have managed to create a unique and distinctive music style over the years. This is what has differentiated them from the rest of the post-hardcore bands. Furthermore, it is worth noting that this record is being distributed in Europe by Ambush Reality, which is Shikari’s own independent record label. Kudos to that!
Enter Shikari are progressing both musically and lyrically with each album. Their previous release, A Flash Flood Of Colour, was undeniably one of the best albums of 2012. The Mindsweep comes three years later, and the guys from St Albans bring more passion and aggression to their music than ever before. Why? Because they want to point out that nothing has changed in the world and we need to step up. Rou’s screaming vocals are his way of showing that he is fed up with everything that is going on in our society. So yes, the main theme of this album is politics. The Mindsweep consists of twelve songs, which is enough by today’s standards. But let’s get on to the most important section of this review: the songs.
This album is easily Enter Shikari’s most diverse release so far in terms of music. There are songs that will remind you of their previous releases, such as The Last Garrison and Myopia, while there are some other tracks that are quite different. For instance, on both Never Let Go Of The Microscope and Anaesthetist, frontman Rou Reynolds pseudoraps (!). Meanwhile, There’s A Price On Your Head is a strange combination of mathcore and electronic music. Moreover, Torn Apart has one of the best choruses on this album and we get a glimpse of Rou’s great vocal abilities. As with every Enter Shikari album, there are some softer tracks, such as Dear Future Historians. Throughout the album, it is more than obvious that they have been influenced by bands like Radiohead and Rage Against The Machine.
As mentioned previously, The Mindsweep is not lyrically different from the band’s previous LPs. Enter Shikari firmly believe that the status quo must be changed. I like that on Never Let Go Of The Microscope, they briefly mention some of the greatest ancient Greek thinkers (NB: I am not mentioning this just because I am Greek, lads!). This is not the first time that they have referenced famous personalities either ( Remember Gandhi Mate, Gandhi?). Another topic that Shikari seem to be concerned about is the privatisation of the NHS. It is a pressing matter in the UK and it couldn’t be left out of Enter Shikari’s agenda as they address the issue in Anaesthetist. Last but not least, they show their frustration about the corruption of the banking system in The Bank Of England. It’s worth mentioning that those who download The Mindsweep on iTunes will receive a bonus track, Slipshod. This is a catchy, yet rather sarcastic song.
If you asked me whether this was Enter Shikari’s best album to date, I would haltingly say no. There are some good tunes, but overall it is far from being one of their best albums. It isn’t the step forward that I was expecting from a band that has shown a lot of potential. Since Enter Shikari want to criticise every aspect of the undeniably outdated political system, they need to take themselves more seriously. Thankfully though, lyrics like “Yabba dabba doo” are nowhere to be found on this LP.
Undeniably, The Mindsweep will satisfy most of Enter Shikari’s fans. The guys from St Albans are one of the few good rock bands of our generation. The album, while not great, is still a hell of a listen. Enter Shikari have immense talent and as a consequence, my expectation of these guys is far too high. Yet my reservations shouldn’t put anyone off from buying this album – you won’t be disappointed.