The mashup of post hardcore and trance is weirdly, unexpectedly good.
Sophie Bruce 2009
The sleepily historic Roman city of St Albans isn't exactly renowned for its excellent bands. Trust me, I know – I grew up there. That is set to change with the release of local foursome Enter Shikari's spankingly brilliant second album Common Dreads.
There was a lot to live up to with this disc, released through their own label Ambush Reality. Enter Shikari made it on to the NME's 'New Noise List' in 2007 and their debut album Take To The Skies reached number 4 in the UK charts, going gold in the process.
Luckily, this album doesn't disappoint – in fact it wows at every turn. The mashup of post hardcore and trance is weirdly, unexpectedly good for starters. And there's a huge variety of song, rhythm and lyric styles to enjoy.
What's even better is the positive, inspiring message the group seem to promote. Some songs incite political action (''you can destroy imbalance and change your values'') others are just ridiculously cheerful, with lyrics like, ''it's glorious outside''. It's a refreshing change from the all-too-dirgey ditch rock songs can often sit in.
Though Rou Reynolds' vocals can be screechy in places, the general vibe is great with good vocals, lyrics (''Sometimes I do wish apples were our currency / So your hoarded millions would rot in a vault'') and melodies throughout. Occasionally there are flashes of Linkin Park or The Prodigy, but mostly this is a sound all Enter Shikari's very own.
Highlights are fabulously catchy first single Juggernauts, swelling grower Wall, teenage anthem Hectic with its computer-game-esque melody and the unexpectedly twinkly and lovely Gap In The Fence. The album is packed with anthems too – The Jester is Blur's Parklife for the Noughties. And No Sleep Tonight is a hardcore reply to Faithless' Insomnia.
The only complaint with Common Dreads? It's so short and sweet that when the last bars of Fanfare For The Conscious Man trickle into the distance after less than an hour, you're left desperate for more. Expect the 13 emblems currently sitting in the band's online Fan Tattoo Gallery to swell immediately on release.