Enter Shikari – Take To The Skies (2007): Review

take

Produced by Enter Shikari
Label – Ambush Reality

The UK weekly printed rock and pop media (particularly NME) had been fawning over the St. Albans four piece for what seemed like an eternity. Heralded as the biggest unsigned band in the world…ever!, the frenzied culmination of “anticipation” resulted in a sell out show at the 2000 capacity London Astoria, and like some evangelical gathering, the 14 to 18 year olds that weren’t kicked out for under age drinking would have enjoyed a spectacular band funded laser show. Big deal, one might say in a condescending tone, but the amount of spin that had been printed about Enter Shikari was almost as seismic as the ear splitting noise generated from their instruments. The former Stereophonics cover band are masters of sound bites and hyperbole, and almost every written article in the press refers to the following.

a) Enter Shikari perform music that is a seminal mix of post hardcore and trance.
b) Enter Shikari are deliberately self funded and without recognized label, apparently turning down numerous “6 figure” offers to sign up to a multitude of companies. They’ve gone on record to point out that this is music for the people, by the people, and have vehemently turned down the corporate suits to stay true to themselves and the worshipping fans.

entershikari

With reference to point a), Enter Shikari are NOT a ground breaking post hardcore/trance amalgam. They’re a poor man’s Funeral For A Friend with a synth. True fans of trance music will be mortified to hear that their preferred genre has been tainted by this grubby association. On point b) there is a certain valiant admiration for a band that market their own music and stick to their independent guns, but on closer inspection the gathered interest across the Atlantic has led to guess what ? They’re looking for a record label.

“Take To The Skies” for what it’s worth, is familiar post hardcore that has been around for many years, and the songs are particularly formulated in the style of dramatic quiet moments with tuneful vocals inevitably building up to turbo charged tub thumping, 100 mph freak outs supposedly enlivened by vocalist Rou Reynolds unintelligible throat shredding roar. The synth interplay ranges from Muse like flourishes to simple pop parps that add little to songs. The artificially processed rhythms are pasted on top of genuine drums to obviously attempt some form of trance authenticity, but let’s be clear that this is not dance or ambient music in any way, shape or form. The songs run along the same themes throughout (barring the metal acoustic number “Adieu”), and all mould into one mass of indistinct noise that’s hard to break down in order to pick a highlight.

Yes, fans will tell you they’ve got millions of hits on Myspace and they sold out the Astoria. Who were the last unsigned band to sell out the very same venue ? The Darkness. Need one say more other than they share the same artistic shallowness and match each other song for song in unbearable musical squalor?

4/10

Track Listing
1. “[Untitled]” (Stand Your Ground; This Is Ancient Land on digital versions) 1:08
2. “Enter Shikari” 2:52
3. “Mothership” 4:30
4. “Anything Can Happen in the Next Half Hour…” 4:32
5. “[Untitled]” 1:01
6. “Labyrinth” 3:51
7. “No Sssweat” 3:16
8. “Today Won’t Go Down in History” 3:34
9. “[Untitled]” (Reprise 1 on digital versions) 1:28
10. “Return to Energiser” 4:35
11. “[Untitled]” 0:18
12. “Sorry, You’re Not a Winner” 3:52
13. “[Untitled]” 0:35
14. “Jonny Sniper” 4:01
15. “Adieu” 5:40
16. “OK Time for Plan B” 4:55
17. “[Untitled]” (Reprise 2 on digital versions)

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