Enter Shikari – A Flash Flood Of Colour
Record Label: Ambush Reality, Hopeless
Release Date: January 16, 2012
Overview:A Flash Flood Of Colour is a very good album. Plain and simple. A band’s 3rd album is considered a rebound album, since the norm is for the sophomore album to always bomb compared to the first. Though I would not ever consider Enter Shikari’s second album Common Dreads a “sophomore slump”, I do believe that Enter Shikari was able to take find a solid middle ground this time around. They successfully combine their heavier style, their lighter style, and a newer sound, and make A Flash Flood Of Colour into one really great product. Sure, it’s not perfect, as there are some vocal issues and a song or two out of place, but I think any Enter Shikari fan will be pleased with what they hear.
(All ratings are on a 1 to 5 scale)
1. System… (3.5) – Rou plays tricks immediately by starting the intro song with the exact same pad as he did with Common Dreads. What I enjoy about this song is that it gives a prologue to what the album is about overall, which is how screwed up the world is and how we have to fight to live in it. It is a little repetitive, and I get tired of hearing Rou rap-talk, but it’s still a cool transition into the album, and a solid transition into the next song. I particularly enjoy when the music drops out and you hear “When I was little, I dressed up as an astronaut, and explored outerspace/ I dressed up as a superhero, and ran about the place/ etc…”
2. …Meltdown (4) – ES starts their first full song with a heavier sound, followed by a driving chorus. The beat behind the song is really cool, and the pre-chorus breakdown, which sound like half guitar chugs and half distorted noise, is absolutely awesome. You hear your first small signs of dubstep, which is littered throughout the album. I’m not impressed with the way the song ends, as it’s very abrupt. Just as the song has a listener’s full attention through 2 choruses, it just halts.
3. Sssnakepit (5) – This is the strongest song on the album. It strays away from the theme of the album but it’s shows traces of older Enter Shikari – perhaps like something off of Take To The Skies. We get to hear Rou sing a little more than talk. The chorus is so catchy and even the verses keep a listener into the song. The crowd-pleasing chant “Yeah, lucky for you!” will keep a live crowd very interested. The breakdown is very unique and raw, and you finally get to hear from Rob Rolfe on drums a little bit. You even get a little laugh at the very end, but I won’t ruin that for you.
4. Search Party (2.5) – This is the first taste of Enter Shikari’s slow side on this album. I do enjoy hearing Rou sing, as his voice is pretty solid. The chorus is very catchy, but what doesn’t click about this song is that it’s just straight boring. The feel doesn’t change a whole lot, and that eighth note synth in the back gets very redundant. The bridge is the only thing that stands out, but for a song like this, it seems awkward. A good taste of a lighter side, but it’s average at best.
5. Arguing With Thermometers (4.5) – I have been impressed with every chorus in this album so far, and this song’s chorus is my personal favorite. This song combines some great catchy lyrics and intense breakdowns with really cool effects and some chill dubstep. This song kept me moving from beginning to end. The only flaw with the song is that the post-chorus part/outro tend to drag on.
6. Stalemate (4) – In every one of Enter Shikari’s full lengths, they put a slow, anthem-like song right in the middle of the album. This song proves much more effective than “Search Party”, as it grows and opens up from beginning to end into a beautiful anthem of a song. Once again, I love the chorus. The powerful lyrics in this song are backed up by the percussion and the guitar in the background. I don’t care for the little tag at the end, which is Rou singing “And I’ll live out this fantasy” repetitively over a piano.
7. Gandhi Mate, Gandhi (3) – In a song that’s the complete opposite of the previous one, Enter Shikari releases some steam on this rampage of a song. This song, in a word, is unnecessary. Since there is no real chorus, I feel like this song is more just a song for Rou to rant. The part that begins at about 2:20 into the song is absolutely sick, however. If there’s anything about this song to get excited about, it’s that part. The end of the song is cool the first few listens, but after that I kind of just want to skip over the end and move on to the next track.
8. Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here (4.5) – A very interesting song. This is the defining song of the album, and a sum of the new sound for Enter Shikari that separates A Flash Flood Of Colour from the others. The title of the song gives a scope into more of the “stand up to the man” theme, and more obviously, the name of the album is said multiple times. The whole “transformation in progress/transformation complete” thing comes off as a little cheesy, but this is clarified as the song gets significantly more aggressive afterwards. The guitar riff at the end of the song is also pretty sweet.
9. Pack Of Thieves (4) – Immediately, a listener is pulled in by the synth in the intro. This song is one of the catchier and “poppier” songs on the album. I would relate this song closely to “Jonny Sniper”, from Take To The Skies. The vocal harmony in the intro is so good, and I wished they used it throughout the rest of the song. The lyrics are backed up by yet another strong chorus. I think the breakdown is somewhat out of place in this smoother, anthem-like song, such that it almost takes from the momentum of the song. However, it rebounds with a final chorus over a melody sung by a choir of gang vocals.
10. Hello Tyrannosaurus, Meet Tyrannicide (5) – Seeing as this album has not severely disappointed at the point, and the album’s almost over, it’s impressive to see a band keep the momentum of the album going. After two songs that really stray away from typical Enter Shikari, this song brings it back around. What makes this song remind me of older ES is the rawness of it. Sure, there’s synth like any ES song, but it’s focused more in the chorus (which once again destroys), while the verses are more drum and guitar based. As if this aggressive song didn’t keep you moving enough, Enter Shikari throw a nasty/bizarre breakdown at the end of the song.
11. Constellations (3.5) – I always consider a band that ends the album on a slower song ballsy, especially a heavier band like Enter Shikari. It’s difficult to critique this song because it’s so far off from the other songs of the album, but it’s such a beautiful song and so well put-together. It’s nice to hear a change from the constant ranting about the world that we’ve heard through 10 tracks. Instead, this song is about choosing the path in life and walking it, using a train station as a metaphor. This song gets a 3.5 because it just does not belong at the end of this album. It’s a very good song, but it doesn’t even close to sum up the album, and perhaps it’d be a great finale on an album of a different style. Nothing really stands out in this song more than Rou’s lyrical ability and his cool British accent. Overall, it’s a very pretty song, but it’s an awkward choice for an ending of an album.
Vocals (3.5) – Rou, Chris, Rob and Rory C all have good voices, and I respect that he doesn’t auto-tune it at all. Also, Rou can rip a nasty scream and he puts a lot of emotion into his vocals. Like in all of the past ES albums, there’s just too much talking. Rou has a very big message to send and there’s a lot on his mind, but I believe that he does that plenty without the rants he goes on. The lyrics aren’t terribly deep, which is okay, but the lyrics don’t shout to me anything special. A lot of the lines are meant to please a live crowd, which is what Enter Shikari are masters at doing.
Guitars (3) – In only a few songs on the album do Rory C and Chris really come out. They are constantly in the shadow of the synths and effects and it’s a shame because they have a lot of talent.
Drums (4) – Rob’s a crazy drummer, and his drums are very raw on this one. He can tear it up, but I feel like he, too, was in the shadows of the synths. Still, he manages to write some pretty awesome parts, especially in breakdowns.
Synth (5) – It’s Enter Shikari. Of course the synth is nasty.