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Enter Shikari Take To The Skies Review

Album. Released 2007.  

BBC Review

One part hardcore, one part rock, a big splash of trance, and a twist of drum 'n' bass.

James Young 2007

Listen to this album on your ipod and you probably won't get it for a long time. Put it in on your stereo – loud – and it begins to come clear. But you probably need to picture the festival scene...

You are standing in a field with thousands of others; let’s say all one hundred and twenty thousand of their myspace friends. So this is a rave, but what sort of music is it; Trancecore, Emocore, Nu-Emotional Hardcore Rave, Electro-screamo? Whatever. The truth is that unfettered by the dictats of a major label's marketing department these four kids from Hertfordshire have been free to wander around lifting from several seemingly clashing scenes. What they have created may not be unique but has not been seen in the mainstream before. One part hardcore, one part rock, a big splash of trance, and a twist of drum 'n' bass. It is, as they say, a heady mix, and somehow it might! just! work!

At its best it is exhilarating, as in the three part opening that goes off like free trance party in the wilds of Gloucestershire and culminates in the euphoric “Mothership”. Immediately afterwards the tension is ratcheted up by the insistent drive of “Anything Can Happen in the Next Half Hour”. Somewhere in the middle “No Sssweat” sidetracks down a fresh lane marked skacore by means of cheeky lyrics about eating your hand. After that charming detour “Return To Energizer” brings back the hardcore. The trademark growling screams and heart lifting gang choruses segueing bafflingly seamlessly into beautifully placed trance synths. It is a perfect display of the band's art.

Sometimes it all misfires – the electronics on “Labyrinth” simply sound too eighties, and they foolhardily plunder that decade again for the guitars in “Johnny Sniper”. However, what takes this album a few notches above the average hardcore is it’s an ear for melody. This is best displayed the end-of-the-party “Adieu” which displays the harmonic prowess to suggest these boys could rival Keane if it all went pear shaped.

You sense they get this too because the swiftly trash that notion with a couple of final 'core flourishes - the splendid final showdown of “OK, Time For Plan B” and a final reprise telling us once more that they will be still be here next time – ‘standing like statues’. All power to that. And bring more drum and bass next time.

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