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Enter Shikari - Common Dreads

Enter Shikari, Common Dreads

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 1 out of 5

I’M KIND of reluctant to call Enter Shikari’s latest album Common Dreads as music. Rather, it’s noise… and pretty shambolic noise at that.

The youngsters – they’re barely out of their 20s – from St Albans lay claim to big ideals and huge ambition, but their endeavours feel strangely obnoxious and barely listenable.

Common Dreads is an issue LP that aims to comment on the themes that singer Rou Reynolds perceives as today’s common dreads – namely, catastrophic climate change, wars, terror laws, CCTV society, modern imperialism and the affects of capitalism.

Yet, the songs are delivered in such shambolic fashion as to appear juvenile. The presence of producer Andy Gray, to deliver a dance element, doesn’t help.

Hence, Common Dreads wails with Goth-like heaviness one minute, before coming over all drum ‘n’ bass and dance-driven the next. Neither works.

Album opener Solidarity feels like a mix of metal and Prodigy gone haywire, and even throws in an orchestral choir late on, but it’s still a complete mess, while Step Up crashes about in drum ‘n’ bass fashion with shouty vocals and an almost Big Brother-style electronic element.

Former single Juggernauts is the closest the album gets to coherence and almost mixes the dance and rock elements to halfway decent effect – but the speak-sung delivery is appalling, while the preachy outlook on society and politics feels pretentious more than inspiring. Only the really naive would get behind the easy sentiments on display here, for there’s an over-simplification of many of the resonant themes.

The same criticism can be levelled at tracks such as Fanfare For The Conscious Man, which references illegal wars, while the likes of Zzzonked and The Jester are just absolute messes, even though the latter attempts to draw in some jazz.

Reynolds defiantly proclaims in the album’s PR that Enter Shikari “just can’t write sappy music” or “limp, soulless songs about how lovely a girl is”. He believes the album to be direct, to the point and influential.

It’s really, really difficult to know just who’s going to be listening to an album as loud, pretentious and ultimately soulless as this.

Download picks: None

Track listing:

  1. Common Dreads
  2. Solidarity
  3. Step Up
  4. Juggernauts
  5. Wall
  6. Zzzonked
  7. Havoc A
  8. No Sleep Tonight
  9. Gap In The Fence
  10. Havoc B
  11. Antwerpen
  12. The Jester
  13. Halcyon (Intro)
  14. Hectic
  15. Fanfare For The Conscious Man

  1. Lame review, indie boys. This album shows more invention, more balls and more quality than any indie release this year.

    Sasha    Jun 15    #