When Rou Reynolds from Enter Shikari screams “Focus on me!” in the intro of the UK band’s fourth studio album, you can’t help but feel spoken to. The Mindsweep is an album that needs to be focused on, otherwise the listener will miss the assault of odd sounds and deeply emotional lyrics with the unique zest Enter Shikari are known for.
The first full track “The One True Colour” deals with the small-mindedness of religious upbringing and the epiphany when you suddenly see the full spectrum. Lyrically this is one of Enter Shikari’s strongest songs to date. It emotionally visualises the internal struggle of faith and losing one’s religion. A beautiful anthem for the ones who aren’t satisfied with “one true colour” but instead seek a wider perspective. The next songs of The Mindsweep are a full blown onslaught on the senses. “Anaesthetist”, “The Last Garrison” and “Never let go of the Microscope” are sonical gems, a perfect mix of dance and metalcore elements. Reynolds aggressive vocals and lyrics transform the songs into acoustical weapons. It’s no surprise those three were released as singles.
“Myopia”, on the other hand, sneaks upon you to hit you when you least expect it. The imagery provoked by the lyrics, animals fighting for their sheer existence while their habitat - the arctic - melts right under their toes (or paws), is haunting. When the refrain breaks out into shouts of “They’re living in denial of science!” you can’t help but feel their desperation.
It’s no surprise that the next track on the record, “Torn Apart”, has become a fan favourite by now. In a time of terrorism and the refugee crisis, lyrics like “Defined by your skin, forget we share kin, we’re torn apart” hit a nerve. The breakdown of the track merges Reynolds powerful voice into a musical landscape that is more than just the usual EDM part of a Shikari track. This song is rightfully one of the most celebrated tracks at an Enter Shikari show. The following track “The Bank of England” sounds bland after this sonic firework and I catch myself often skipping the verses to get right into the fast paced dance part. Oh well, no record is flawless. The spastic “There’s a Price on Your Head” is a great wake up call after the slumber party. In a System of a Down-esque shouting match, Reynolds questions the class system in the UK just to end the song with a beautiful string outro - a nice bridge to the love song “Dear Future Historians…”. The fragile ballad is so radio friendly, it almost seems out of place if it weren’t for the poetic lyrics which make this song a stand out track. The album closes at full circle with “The Mindsweep II”, an outro that picks up right where “The Appeal & The Mindsweep I” started the musical journey of Enter Shikari’s album #4.
The Mindsweep is Enter Shikari’s most diverse but also most polished album so far. They show that they have internalised their own unique style and were able to take it to another level. It’s definitely the best album of the British band, but also makes it more than apparent that Enter Shikari won’t ever rest on their laurels. There’s more to come and it’s almost scary to imagine a record even better than this one.
Written by Melissa Wilke
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