Enter Shikari have, quite simply, outdone their selves with their latest release, Common Dreads. An inspiring mix of trance, dub, techno, rock and post-hardcore go towards the musical stylings of shikaris most adventurous release to date.
Shikari have continued to push the boundaries of the genre, introducing more and more variety, from the trance like Wall, the hardcore Antwerpen and the politically fueled Fanfare for the Conscious Man.
The first album, being borderline nonsensical, Common Dreads has taken a Step up (no pun intended) in the writing style of the lyrics. The Whole album has a political undertone throughout, from No Sleep Tonight which has been described by the band as being about corporations being corporation-y to the aforementioned Fanfare, written about the current state of the British government. Our gracious queen should grasp the crown and take a goof f-ing swing at Blair and Brown screams front man Rou, who describes this as A last minute outburst of frustration over the last few years.
This new depth is shown in the very first track, which gives the album its Title, Common Dreads. This is almost a poem so to speak, its dark, meaningful and at times moving, as the voice is echoed by children and indigenous people from around the world. This opening sets the theme for the album.
Seamlessly, the album takes a sudden change of pace, with the next track, Solidarity. The synth is used to great effect to pick up the pace and provide a good introduction to the first real song of the album. Switching between choruses with light guitar and gentle melodies, and heavy screaming and drum and base samples used. The song closes with a choir singing the well known phrase from the take to the skies And still we will be here, standing like statues with the response of we will sing as one in solidarity... this acts as a nice throwback to the first album and again showing the variety of the album. Although, in this album, the band seems to have grown up, there are still moments of fun silliness such as in Zzzonked which is a song about being tired and completely drained of energy which effectively lightens the mood towards the end of the album along with Hectic. This is an uplifting song about childhood with videogame music infuences.
Throughout the album, we hear Rou experimenting with some mike skinner style verses, heard in Step Up and Juggernauts. These are very well written and performed, and are used to greatly contrast other points in the song, such as in Zzzonked which is lead with nonsense verse screamed along with chaotic synth samples, followed by an almost rap which then leads towards a climatic breakdown, which is one of the highpoints of the album.
Drawing to a conclusion for this is hard, I want to go into the variety shown in the album by comparing Gap in the Fence with Havoc. But this can be summed up easily in this conclusion; Common Dreads adds a whole new beautiful layer to the already rich tapestry of music that is Enter Shikari without leaving behind the styles seen in the first album. Enter Shikari are so broad that anyone truly interested in music should give them a try and will be easily swept away with the rest of the die hard community.