Enter Shikari: Either You Know You're Oppressed, Or You're Asleep
If there is anything you can say about Enter Shikari, it's that the band is a challenge just by its very nature. There's no genre, no label, no box that they fit comfortably in. Ultimately, they are that obnoxious zigzag Tetris piece that brings the whole game down.
Photo by Joe Dilworth
Lots of attempts have been made to compartmentalize the group with terms like electronicore -- whatever the hell that means -- but none really fits them very well.
If you were forced at gunpoint to draw a comparison to another group, it would probably be to Chumbawamba. If all you know of that act is "Tubthumping," then you've missed out on some of the greatest political and anarchist music ever produced. Enter Shikari picks up that same torch and adds shades of Trent Reznor, dubstep and Eminem to the mix.
Their latest album is A Flash Flood of Colour. It's their third studio release, and it's already a No. 1 UK rock hit, proving that they are a band on the rise and that they should be watched carefully. It's a continuous and constant cry against what they see as an endlessly corrupt system, and easily one of the most purely political records ever to reach so high on the charts.
"Anyone who thinks they are truly free and not oppressed in this world is asleep," says singer Rou Reynolds via e-mail. "Today you are only as free as your purchasing power, i.e., how much dollar you have."
Alice Cooper famously called politics in music treason against rock and roll, and most bands that base themselves purely around a mission to fight the man rarely do the music industry any lasting benefit. That being said, there are many moments on Flash Flood of Colour that show incredible ability in the realm of both pop and avant-garde songwriting.
It opens strong with "System...," an amazing mixture of dance track and bizarre metaphorical beat poetry that comes together perfectly like a Biblical parable, combining just the right amounts of preachiness, honesty, anger and accessibility.
"From my personal experience, I can say that music does have a big effect on people and can change individual lives," says Reynolds. "I think for some people it can simply give them confidence, knowing that others have the same views and passion. For some, it can even encourage such drastic actions as a change in career path.
"Also, we have to remember, all art has a message. The mind-numbing music in the charts has a message, too: To conform, to consume, to be greedy, to be selfish, to be vacuous, to hold fake values, to be insecure, to be uninspired. We simply chose to have a different message."