ENTER SHIKARI – The Mindsweep
aaamusic | On 22, Feb 2015
Enter Shikari begin The Mindsweep with an ‘Appeal’, stating: ‘You’ve no idea what you’ve got yourself into’. What follows is an energetic rapture of synths, screams and political rants; our eyebrows are not raised, though expectations are met, albeit with less vigour than three years ago.
To enjoy The Mindsweep’ it’s best to leave your brain at the door, which may be the reasoning behind the album title. Though there are some powerful entries to the setlist: notably ‘The Appeal & The Mindsweep II’, ‘Never Let Go Of The Microscope’ and ‘Torn Apart’, they are often let down by their overwhelming busyness. Some tracks rely too heavily on stark contrasts of 2/4 vs half time, with layered vocals either overpowering instrumentation or electronics distorting melody. It’s often confusing and frustrating and you will sometimes wish an intro’s heaviness lasted through an entire song, without the tone changing completely in the chorus (‘The Last Garrison’). However after a couple of repeats there are no more surprises and you can actually start to enjoy the album.
The Mindsweep does offer a superb dynamic range, with the latter half standing out as an impressive display of melody and clean vocals. On tracks such as ‘Myopia’ and ‘Dear Future Historians…’ Rou Reynolds demonstrates his abilities as a frontman, stepping away from the powerful backing and acting as a relief in many of the more feverish numbers.
‘The Appeal’ and ‘Anaesthetist’ are tracks that include some of the Enter Shikari raps/rants, which littered the last album, occasionally working but often falling far of the mark. The material is weak at best and though we are told ‘you’re part of this story’, the schoolboy material will often have you cringing, ‘you f**king spanner’ right back at a band that should be better.
The Mindsweep is an album that encourages and benefits from multiple listening. It’s been three years since Enter Shikari’s last album, A Flash Flood Of Colour and this shows as they have attempted to cram a wealth of material into twelve songs. This new entry is unforgiving and you will be tested, but if you get through the first few tracks you will be largely rewarded.