Album Review: Enter Shikari – Common Dreads (Ambush Reality)
Rivmixx was surprised to learn that this is only the second album from St. Albans’ Enter Shikari. The nu-ravers have been peddling their rather unique brand of angry dance-metal since their formation in 2000 and having first come onto this reviewer’s radar back in 2005, it would be easy to expect at least one other album since 2007’s ‘Take To The Skies’.
However, ‘Common Dreads’ really doesn’t feel like an awkward second album, in fact, it sounds like a band that are very comfortable in their own skin. What was initially a rather gimmicky idea has been developed and experimented with and Enter Shikari clearly understand the similarities between dance and metal and this has enabled them to create a successful cross-over sound. Massive, pulsing bass lines are employed where other bands would be doggedly chugging away on drop-D guitar tunings. Dance synths drop where punk acts would use a tired chorus and a careful blending of song structures keeps things from getting too predictable. The real victory though, is that it works so well, you want to rock out with the guitars, dance with the synths and sometimes do both at the same time.
Perhaps, it’s working with dance producer Andy Gray that has made the difference or perhaps it’s just that the band have thought about or instinctively developed a thorough understanding of their sound/instruments, but ‘Common Dreads’ is a far more cohesive and accomplished album than their rather bitty debut. And, whilst some of the Mike Skinner-style spoken word sections and elementary political diatribe can occasionally grate on an embattled reviewer (as on baffling choice for lead single, ‘Juggernauts’), the kids are going to lap this up… As well they should.
Written for Rivmixx