Review: The Mindsweep

Enter Shikari
Photo Credit: macskapocs via Compfight cc

Now, if there’s anything that’ll get me excited to see a band live, it’s getting hold of new music by them.  With about three weeks to go until I see Enter Shikari live at Portsmouth Pyramids, I was extremely pleased to see their latest album, The Mindsweep, drop through my letterbox the other morning.  In all honesty, I forgot that I’d pre-ordered it, so it was as if Christmas had come all over again!

If you haven’t managed to pick up a copy yet, Shikari have made the album available to stream – isn’t that generous of them?

Now, if you’re an old-school Shikari purist who thought A Flash Flood Of Colour was crap, then the Hertfordshire lads’ latest offering will not be for you.  The Mindsweep definitely follows in the same vein as their previous album stylistically, with plenty of slower melodic elements and political diatribes.  However, their little nod to Sorry You’re Not A Winner in The Appeal & The Mindsweep II tells us that Enter Shikari have far from forgotten their roots, and there are plenty of hardcore breakdowns and screamo choruses to go around.

The Shikari lads have definitely worked out how to start an album; The Appeal & The Mindsweep I starts slow and electronic, building to the fast paced appeal from Rou, and then punching you in the gut with its scream of “I am a mindsweeper!”, crashing cymbals and heavy riffs.  To me this harks back to System…, the opener of A Flash Flood, which definitely does its job of getting the listener in the Shikari mindset.

Backing and accompanying vocals by Liam, Chris and Rob are brought more to the forefront in this album, especially in tracks like Never Let Go Of The Microscope and The One True Colour.  They definitely help to bring something a bit different to The Minsdweep compared to Shikari’s previous efforts.

Lyrically this album does not disappoint, with The Anaesthetist protesting the privatisation of the NHS, and The Bank Of England showing a middle finger to the wealthy elite in charge of our finances.  As long as Enter Shikari continue to challenge political norms in their lyrics and attitude, they’ll still be the same band to me.

With 12 tracks coming in at about 45 minutes in length, The Mindsweep is a significant album to get stuck into.  However, one criticism I have to make is, due to the tracks blending into each other, it’s a little different to work out where one track ends and another begins, especially during the latter half of the album.  Whilst this may make listening to individual tracks a little jarring, however, the overall package is excellent and flows really well.

Overall this album is a little more radio-friendly than previous offerings, if the success of singles Anaesthetist and The Last Garrison on stations such as BBC Radio 1 is anything to go by.  But is that a bad thing?  Considering a number of dates for their Mindsweep tour are already sold out with weeks to go before they hit the road, I’d argue not.

The Mindsweep was released January 19 in the UK, and Enter Shikari return to UK shores for the third leg of the Mindsweep tour on February 16 – my date in Portsmouth!  Having seen the lads perform at Leeds Festival last year, I know this tour will stick in my memory for a long time.

Highlights: Anaesthetist, Never Let Go Of The Microscope, Myopia, Torn Apart


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