First of all, before anything else. Can we just get a round of applause for Rory C on guitar please? I never really looked at him as much of a guitarist before, but woah, this album changed that. Gone are the days of the hammer on tapping, for example Juggernauts of Common Dreads. He’s no longer the strings man in the side of the band, he is leading the fray with massive guitar leads such as the time signature bending “Arguing With Thermometers”, which thoroughly demonstrates his versatility. One second, hardcore chugging, the next, a dreamy funky riff. Hello Tyrannosaurus… is his song here though. The spazzy Fall Of Troy-esque lead is just as indecisive and spontaneous as the band themselves, and the sheer technical proficiency behind it is outstanding.
Common Dreads was vastly criticised for its change from the Post-Hardcore stylings of Take To The Skies, and this was heavily down to Rou Reynolds sudden passion for melodic vocals in replacement of the harsh screams of the debut. The melodic singing is still there, and it’s in good condition; gorgeous trance led number “Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here“ demonstrates the more tender registers of Reynolds’ voice. But the brutal, guttural vocals make a welcome comeback, joined in by the well acquainted gang vocals they’ve learned to adapt into a signature style. These songs are made to sound amazing live, these gang hooks are going to sound fantastic in the middle of a crowd.
Shikari get a lot of stick for their attempts to cross between EDM and Rock/Metal in both communities. So where does A Flash Flood Of Colour land them this time? There are clear elements of dub step here, and Reynolds has definitely gone down the route of making the two work in parallel (excluding “Sssnakepit”, working on a question answer structure) by taking the breakdown and beatdown aspects of Post-Hardcore and expertly blending them with heavy bass modulation and three step snares. This is how it should be done, there isn’t an electronic moment then a metal moment – it’s all one big Enter Shikari moment. No one is doing it quite like them.
Probably one of the more notable of the changes in the album is the severe step into political territory in Reynolds’ left wing, metaphor heavy lyrics. Climate change denial, economic equilibrium, tyranny accusation… this album has it all. But is it welcome? As much as I would hope to say yes, there are times where it jars the progress of the songs. “Ghandi Mate, Ghandi” begins with a rant concerning just about everything you’ll see on the news today, but it just doesn’t need to be there. The song could start from the jumpy jungle synth onward, and it would feel that much more fluid. Reynolds is getting in the way here, regardless of your political affiliation. Do note though; “yabba dabba do one” is total genius. No lie.
Where does A Flash Flood Of Colour leave Enter Shikari? In an interesting place. This album could lead them onto huge things. It has all the makings of a great album, it has the huge live parts, the soft emotional moments, the experimentation… it’s what they choose to do with it now. There are obviously tracks on the album that will be welcome in the live setlist, and if they pull off another one like this it will be great for them, they have the momentum to get to the top of festivals within the next few years – but they have to capitalise. Look where is well received and focus on it. Don’t sacrifice your music for your message; you are speaking loud enough, just a little too much. William Sorenson