Enter Shikari has always been a step or two ahead of the game. They were one of the first bands to combine aggressive post-hardcore with even more aggressive electronic music, and each successive album has seen the British band tighten its sound and embrace different sonic textures. However, until The Mindsweep, the band’s fourth album, Enter Shikari’s songcraft has never quite caught up to the group’s ambition. That has, thankfully, changed with this latest release. Finally, Enter Shikari is equally progressive in its politics and its music.
The Mindsweep is unabashedly the group’s tightest effort yet, featuring some of the group’s hardest hitting jams. “There’s a Price on Your Head” is a wonderful mis-mash of System of a Down-style bouncy aggression and forward-thinking electro-rock, all while lamenting to the classes that divide us. “The Anaesthetist” carries a strong message through the band’s best fusion of hardcore and electronic yet. “Torn Apart” even references the late, great Pendulum in its assault. In case you’re underwhelmed with the group’s progress, “The Bank of London” and “Myopia” are dazzlingly melodic and hooky. Then, “Dear Future Historians” comes out of the gate as a middle-of-the-road ballad, only to explode in a 65daysofstatic-style climax. This isn’t your older brother’s Enter Shikari.
Of course, Enter Shikari’s progression isn’t earth shattering. Rou Reynold’s still isn’t the most effective screamer, though his melodic improvements more than make up for this deficiency. Despite the fact that The Mindsweep is arguably the band’s least bombastic, some of the harsher moments don’t work as well as they could. The two-part “The Appeal and the Mindsweep” gets the job done, but they are the two weakest tracks of the bunch. Lastly, while musically the Radiohead-meets-UK-hip-hop stylings of “Never Let Go of the Microscope” are a real winner, Rou’s lyrics are a tad hit or miss.
Those minor nitpicks aside, there’s little doubt that Enter Shikari is at its absolute best with The Mindsweep. By expanding on its musical pallet and downplaying some of the harsher elements of its sound, Enter Shikari seems to be hitting its creative stride, building on the success of A Flash Flood of Colour.