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Enter Shikari - 'No Sleep Tonight'

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Fraser McAlpine | 12:43 UK time, Thursday, 13 August 2009

Enter Shikari

Oh. Man. This is really it. The apocalypse is upon us. It's the end of days, the beginning of the final act, the dark times are here. Death and his three cohorts - y'know, Famine, Pestilence and Lack Of Internet Access - are saddling up and preparing to ride the black winds down upon our cold and sorry world.

They'll have a job finding their way around, mind, seeing as the world itself is now upside down: it's raining in summertime, up is hot, left is chirpy, the lion lays down with the lamb, the Anti-Christ is among us (his flat-top is the only reason the horns don't show), and, the greatest proof of all, Enter Shikari have recorded a slick pop song (by their standards), complete with...oh crikey...I can't even bring myself to say it...people are gonna hurl...complete with...with...a Westlife key change at the end.

May [insert creator of choice] have mercy on us all...

(Here's the video. Get orf moi laaaand, you perishing kids!)

And there's no point in crying or begging for mercy. The Shiks are ruthless, brutal people, albeit ruthless and brutal people with something of a sweet tooth. What else could explain their desire to create pop music which bludgeons your cerebral cortex until it is hollow and rattly, then sticks a pretty melody inside, like a lupin in a jackboot?

It IS pop music, by the way. Everything is a lead-up to the chorus. The verses may wriggle and squirm, but it's mainly with excitement that The Really Good Bit is just around the corner. Rou could literally be singing "hang on...HANG ON...WE'RE JUST ABOUT TO...OMG HERE WE GOOOOO!" and they'd be just as effective. That's pop songwriting for you.

Unfortunately, this also means that a very thoughtful lyric can get a bit lost in all the fun. But it's OK, the beauty of the pop structure is these things tend to seep their way in, rather than being forced. I myself have spent an enjoyable five minutes investigating the line "just like the ocean we won't be pacific anymore", and realising it's a call to arms rather than a mistake. Pacific meaning peaceable, y'see.

It's fair to say you don't get this kind of thing with Peter Andre.

As for the key-change...well, it's all part of the grand plan, isn't it? Write a song about an apocalyptic battle between good and evil, put some X Factor musical arrangements in there, just to scare the heck out of everyone. Focuses the attention VERY well.

One last thing though, how, Mr Shikari, is ANYONE expected to get any sleep around here if you insist on shouting like that? Hmmm?

Ah, the joy of earplugs. Sorry, did someone say something? Good.

Five starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: August 17th
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)


  • Comment number 1.

    I didn't like Juggernauts. It made me cringe. Badly.
    Take Me To The Skies was also a bit of a battle to listen to, I couldn't bare them at first, then I got into 3-4 tracks.

    But this I like, it DOES actually sound like a structured composition. And yeah, the title fits well with the band, which is a nice touch. I like the fact you managed to name drop two polar opposite, god awful artists in a Enter Shikari review. Very skilful.

  • Comment number 2.

    I think I would like this song a lot better if there was less shouting. A lot less shouting. I'm having a hard time looking (or listening, rather) past that.
    And there is nothing wrong with a Westlife-esque key change at the end...I started listening to them again after an absence and just remembered how much I like them, so no hating!
    This might be a grower, but I don't know yet.

  • Comment number 3.

    No Sleep Tonight is an absolutely immense song.

    5 STARS !!!!!

    I have loved this band since the unsigned days , and this is probably their most commercial sounding offering !

    A listed at Radio 1 , this could be another top 40 hit after the mighty Juggernauts raced to 28 in June .

    The best key change of the year ! Bar none !

    I love the adrenaline rush of this message to the powers that be.

    A huge chorus . After one listen you will remember this song .

    The album Common Dreads is a difficult listen , though .

    Aside from Juggernauts and this song , I really hope the next single is Wall . To my mind , this song shows a real depth to their songwriting .
    Unfortunately , for me , I have found the rest of the album very difficult to listen to , as it appears largely to be a barrage of noise with limited song structures and melodies , and apart from the 3 songs I have mentioned , nothing else has really grabbed me , as yet .

    There is no doubt , however , that when Enter Shikari have a melody , a song structure and a purpose , like on No Sleep Tonight , they are a mighty force to be reckoned with !

    Next time lads , let's have quality song writing for every single song, all through an album , and then real success beckons !

    PS Make "WALL ".. the next single .

    No Sleep Tonight - 5 STARS !

  • Comment number 4.

    Firstly, it's interesting that Enter Shikari's fanbase is large enough for them even to appear on a chart-based blog, since they are very alternative sounding. I'm a big fan and have seen them live on a couple of occasions so I'm chuffed for them.

    Secondly, in response to Spirit Warrior's comment, I think you're being a little patronising and unfair. It is one thing if a band or style of music doesn't appeal to you personally, and it is quite obvious that Enter Shikari have a sound that won't be to everybody's tastes. However, to imply that the album isn't well crafted, and has, essentially, just been carelessly thrown together bar a couple of tracks, is quite narrow-minded and insulting to the band. It is something they have clearly worked very hard on, and even if you can't grasp the melodies, there is no denying he lyrics are quite outstanding.

  • Comment number 5.

    The main reason that Enter Shikari are on Chartblog , is probably due to the fact that this song is very likely to be in the chart ,

    Their first top forty hit was Anything Can Happen in the Next Half Hour , and their only other was Juggernauts which hit 28 in June .

    Trust me , Oliviaaa , I have followed this band since they were unsigned , and shouted their name to the powers that be , to sit up and notice this outstanding band .

    When I first heard Sorry You're not a winner in demo form , I was hooked .

    I travelled miles to see them live across the country to see them live on the strength of one song . ( I did the same with Glasvegas ! )
    This is what great bands compel you to do...

    The first time I saw them live was in Cardiff , very early in their career and I was blown away by this juggernaut of melody and mayhem .

    I loved Take to The Skies , but I am finding Common Dreads a difficult album to get into , due to it's disjointed nature and moments of sonic abrasiveness .
    The 3 songs I mentioned are for me , the 3 stand out tracks on the album , but on a completely commercial , business level , this isn't the crossover breakthrough album I was hoping for .

    That is obviously my fault and not theirs . They have chosen an angle of what they feel and what works for them as artists , and that is great. I will just have to take a bit longer in getting to know their new songs, as it is taking a long time .

    I have seen them live now countless times , and will catch up with them many times on their October tour .

    So Oliviaaa , help me out , what are your favourite tracks on Common Dreads and why ?

  • Comment number 6.

    Oddly enough the very first song I heard by Enter SHIKARI... Sorry you're not a winner , now has almost 7 MILLION hits on You Tube !


  • Comment number 7.

    Enter Shikari are a shouty band kim-ley!! Great band that are even better live and great song so glad it got 5 stars!! and they are welsh to!!

  • Comment number 8.

    haha @ supafairydust. Obvious there are fans of the band here that are skeptical of the new sound, and fair enough if its not everyones cup of tea. I love shikari and even i can admitt i dont LOVE every song.

    You are the kind of bandwaggon fan that jumps on a band because everyone does, and loves every song because everybody else does. Get off your high horse trying to love them more than anyone else.

    And if you loved them that much you'd know that they are actually from St Albans (22 miles north of london) I'm from scotland but isn't north london predominantly in england? :S

    It is a fair album though i enjoyed them like too! :D

  • Comment number 9.

    I can see why some people might find Common Dreads a tough listen, the music can seem a little disjointed at times, but this album really grew on me. I think lyrically it's a lot more coherent than Take To The Skies, you can tell that this album has been written as a single large project, whereas TTTS was a selection of songs written over quite a few years.

    No Sleep Tonight is the obvious single choice just because of the fantastic chorus, and I really hope it charts well, but the song that I love most on the album is Hectic, just for the lyrics which bring back such strong memories of underage drinking and playing video games (not the coolest I admit, but we've all been there)

    To really get Enter Shikari though, you have to see them live. I've rarely ever had more fun at a gig than I have at theirs.

  • Comment number 10.

    Totally agree Dan , Enter Shikari live , is a real energetic , headlong rush of adrenalin and magic .

    Awesome !

  • Comment number 11.

    Anyone else out there in the stratosphere who rate Enter Shikari AS A GREAT LIVE BAND ?

  • Comment number 12.

    I am seeing ENTER SHIKARI tonight at the BRISTOL ACADEMY !!

    Very excited .

    And my prayers were answered in comment 3 .

    WALL will be the next ENTER SHIKARI single .

  • Comment number 13.

    Enter Shikari were superb .

    I am still in one piece , but I didn't own the moshpit.

    This was owned by 200 other people !


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