I don’t enjoy writing bad reviews. I’d rather praise ten good records than slag off one bad one, but, fortunately/unfortunately, Enter Shikari have made the process fairly easy for me. This, their third album follows along their previous path of sci-fi-obsessed high-octane propulsions with overly-earnest lyrics on the “state of the nation/world”.
Despite supposedly serious attempts at writing meaningful words, they sometimes crack off-hand jokes as if they don’t really believe any of it, making them one of the few bands with the problem of taking themselves both too seriously and not taking themselves seriously enough. There’s no conviction in Rou Reynold’s voice. When Keith Morris from OFF! sings “F**K YOU!” lyrics, he sounds like a man who is a danger to himself and others and, what’s more, he makes you want to join in; when Reynolds sings “F**K YOU!”, he sounds like a twelve year-old after a few too many E-numbers. His ranting reminds me of the London rioters last year saying that they were protesting against “the system” when really they just wanted to break and steal stuff.
The beginning of ‘Gandhi Mate, Gandhi’ (the title of which sounds like a bad Mike Skinner parody) uses that offending word “system” twice, screams “WE’RE SICK OF THIS SHIT” before, ironically, breaking into the most generic and noisy dub-step squelch in history, the kind which everyone is surely sick of by now. I’m sick of other things too: if you’re going to write a “War = Bad/Peace = Good” lyric, at least bring something new to the table and try not to use the phrase “chessboard of lies”.
It’s really not all bad though. ‘Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here’ sees the band taking a break from punching above their weight and instead singing about what they know, rather than what they think they know. Plus it’s probably the least clichéd song on the record (which is less of a compliment than it sounds). ‘Pack Of Thieves’ is another that actually sounds genuine which is something that’s completely lacking from the rest of the record.
Unfortunately, these songs come two-thirds of the way through the A Flash Flood Of Colour which means, by the time they roll around, you’ve already been bored into submission by empty threats, bursts of monotonous noise, botched attempts to be taken seriously and a catalogue of just about every passing fad Radio One spews out each evening. This is the kind of music most rock fans outgrow sooner or later – usually sooner. Joe Hill