Label: So Recordings
Released: 17th April 2020
If ‘The Spark’ was Enter Shikari at their most introverted and restrained, both in duration and scale, the follow-up is a band releasing a deluge of ideas, lurching across genres at such breakneck speed you’d be forgiven for ending the album with an amount of motion sickness.
Everything is possible. Musically, that means glitching prog bouncing off euphoric stadium rock via an actual symphony. Lyrically, mastermind Rou Reynolds is on an odyssey of all the awful things you can imagine, with most of them coming true. The de-facto title-track sets a scene where the truth is a mirage and modernity is a force of calamity, not progress.
The doom-laden chorus gives way to a jazz freakout, before ‘Modern Living’ sticks Blur through a sequencer, complete with a ‘Parklife’-esque chant along, “We’re apocaholics drinking gin and tonics, lying in the flowers, counting down the hours”. Rou’s symphony, ‘Elegy for Extinction’, charts life on earth from the first tadpole hauling itself out of the pond accompanied by fluttering strings to a discordant crescendo as mankind obliterates its habitat in the name of profit.
It’s not ALL doom and gloom however, ‘Crossing the Rubicon’ sees Shikari at their anthemic best in a rallying cry to forge your own future, and ‘Satellites’ takes on the persecution aimed at the LBTQ+ community in a moving love song.
This is a dizzying listen, and it’s testament to their prowess that Shikari can weave a coherent piece from such wildly diverse threads. Switch the outside world off and lose yourself in the chaos.