For ‘The Mindsweep’ Enter Shikari have once again tried something new: self doubt. It’s not obvious from the hurried skirmish of album opener ‘The Appeal and The Mindsweep I’ nor does it present itself as the album closes in a hail of fury and nostalgia. Somewhere between those two expected bookends though, lies Enter Shikari as you’ve never heard them before.
Less than two minutes into second track, ‘The One True Colour’ and the relentless crunch that’s become part of Enter Shikari’s DNA drops away, replaced by a melodic twist and spoken word. It’s affecting, and makes the steady climb back to the snarling venom of old take on a whole new energy. The pause during ‘The Last Garrison’ has a similar effect.
Lyrically, ‘The Mindsweep’ sees Enter Shikari facing defeat. “I’ve got a sinking feeling” whispers Rou Reynolds amidst a twinkling backdrop on ‘Never Let Go Of The Microscope’. It’s an idea that rears its head during ‘Torn Apart’ and again on ‘Dear Future Historians…’ Using this fear to their advantage, not only do they expose a human side to their humanitarian cause but, like a wounded animal backed into a corner, the band lash out with their most aggressive work to date.
Facing defeat but still defiant, ‘The Mindsweep’ despite its evolved sound, considered melodies and full bodied anger, still struggles with identity. Enter Shikari have made their mark with a hybrid theory of conflicting ideas but, unsure where they sit between Rage Against The Machine and Radiohead, it lacks real conviction. ‘The Mindsweep’ swims in potential but every time Enter Shikari look like they’re about to break through that glass ceiling, they catch a glimpse of their own reflection and choke. Enter Shikari’s fear makes this their most exciting, yet frustrating album yet.