Enter Shikari – The Mindsweep
This album feels really divisive, at least for me. It seems to take the band both forward and backward. It’s both accessible and obtuse. Enter Shikari has always been a bit scattershot in their songwriting, but this aspect is cranked to 11 on The Mindsweep. It not only bounces around in quality from song to song, but section to section. This chorus is amazing, but that verse is terrible. That breakdown is weird and doesn’t work while this ending is epic and fantastic.
And this album is EPIC. Woah. If you ever wanted scream or chant along to something that feels like it has meaning, this album has the songs to do that with. There are some truly uplifting and transcendent moments on this disc. Just listen to Torn Apart. If you don’t want to simultaneously hold up a lighter and sing along while crying there might be something wrong with you.
The synth work on this album is considerably less up front, more chordal/ethereal, and takes a backseat to a more straightforward rock heavy sound. Buuuuuttttttt….they also added in a lot orchestral instrumentation to fill out the sound, so it’s still far afield from being a straight rock album. Also, there are fewer low end synths allowing the bass guitar to be far more audible in the mix. It’s a good change and works well in the context of the album.
On a down note, Clewlow’s backing vocals are still horrible. They have been a weak spot on every single album, but they can reach atrocious levels here. I am actually a bit sad about this as they have been steadily improving up to this point. But here, every time he gets out of a mid-range, he sounds like he is scared of the sound of his own voice. Balancing that out however, his guitar work on this album has really kicked it up a notch. There are some fantastic riffs and melody lines here.
In summation, this is alternately their best and possibly worst album to date. And that’s why I dig it. They took a lot of chances and made a lot of changes, some worked some didn’t. It’s a damn fine album.