How distant the triple handclaps of ‘Sorry You’re Not A Winner’ seem now. When Enter Shikari ran the risk of flash in the pan status, a dance-infused hardcore band falling closer to the classification of ‘guilty pleasure’ than ‘voice of a disenfranchised generation’. But that’s where the Watford crew see themselves today on the release of album number 4, The Mindsweep. Driven by the frenetic, knowledge-hungry brain of frontman Rou Reynolds, The Mindsweep reads as a checklist of burning global issues. No one is safe, no subject is sacred, and each track is a thrill to unravel for its acerbic message.
Behind the chaos of muted guitar riffs, dub drops and lyrical barrages to confound Sartre there is the battle between despair for the present and hope for the future, the alternating current that keeps The Mindsweep running. The grime and darkness of ‘The Anaesthetist’, which gives us the summer festival chant of 2015 in the form ‘You fucking spanner!’, contrasts with the boundlessly hopeful ‘Head’s up and thank fuck you’re still alive!’ hook of ‘The Last Garrison’. Much more than a nihilistic celebration of the world’s problems like, say, Gallows’ Grey Britain, The Mindsweep is possessed of endless optimism and intelligence. The issues are known, the situation is grave but, as Rou sings on the ballad ‘Dear Future Historians…’, there is always hope for the love and ingenuity of humanity.
Enter Shikari’s fourth offering excels as both a barnstorming ‘Fuck You’ against our socio-political crutches and an uplifting rally cry to fuel those who might otherwise remain complacent to the world around them. It helps that the message is wrapped in infectious, inventive music that will have your toe tapping while your brain whirs. A lesson in how message music should be done and an essential listen.