When a band like Enter Shikari come back again for a third “proper” album, you couldn’t begin to imagine the pressure that would be on them to get it right. A Flash Flood of Colour is the St Albans groups 3rd offering, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint!
The album kicks off with the song “System…” which opens up with that same eerie intro that closed Take to the Skies and opened Common Dreads. Electronic Strings kick in followed by Rou’s sweet calm vocals about a house on a field. Soon it turns slightly heavier until a breakdown about Rou’s childhood starts. It then gradually gets heavier a la Shikari while Rou vocalizes his dissatisfaction about the current world status.
The end of that song leads into “…Meltdown” which is an amazing anthemic dub/rave/punk piece. During the first 20 seconds we hear Rou proclaiming that “this is gonna change everything!” before a sweet drop kicks in worthy of so much! The Chorus is firmly set to Pop with it’s melodic vocals, but it soon turns heavy again with the lyrics expressing many f-words and anti government speeches. Throughout the song we hear a lot of wobbly bass and fast syncopated drum beats. Towards the end the lads shout out “We! Are! One!” before the song prepares itself for the onslaught that is…
“Sssnakepit”. The lead single from the album. This song consists of everything Shikari do well, Drum and Bass, Post Hardcore and heavy bass. The first 30 seconds or so consist of a DnB beat before Rory (Clewlow, Guitar) plays a very distorted riff. Rou starts going back to Shikari roots and screams his heart out with an amazing anthemic verse and chorus! The whole song mainly consists of going back between Post Hardcore and DnB with a few melodic pop choruses bolted in between. The album version of the song goes out to an amazing Louis Armstrong impersonation…
“Search Party” could be considered as one of the lighter album tracks with its Stadium Rock “Woah’s” and light shouty verses which definitely add to the build up of what happens mid song. After a short piano interlude, the distorted guitars come in and Rou shouts “All hands on deck, we’ve got to scrub this f*cker out!” with an amazing chuggy riff in the background. It quickly reverts back to some “woahs” and then a final chorus before sweetly ending with some more piano & synth. If only the next song was as sweet!
The albums second single is next to play, aptly titled “Arguing with Thermometers”. The first 20 seconds consist of pure hardcore screaming screaming by Rou about Expeditions into the Arctic, before Shikari turn to lighter, indie parts which take up a majority of the song. The drop is very heavy and consists mainly of some dub step wobs mixed in with Snare drums and screaming. “You know there’s oil in the ice!” – one of Rou’s many proclamations about Ernest Shackleton’s trek into the Arctic Tundra. Back we go to Indie once again before the whole band shout out gang vocals. The song isn’t complete without some more growling/screaming and an ending of dub step wobs and bleeps. Enter Shikari really have impressed so far – 5 tracks in!
We get to the first soft moment of the album in the soft rock track “Stalemate”. Sweet, soft acoustic guitars and lyrics about the current state of the world (“Money is made while bombs are dropping in Afghanistan, white phosphorous falls in Palestine”) litter the song, in a good way. The song gets much more Stadium Rock-y towards the end with a Muse/Coldplay like Solo by Rory with some electronics underlying it and a bit of heavy bass courtesy of Chris (Batten, Bass). The final minute of the song are to die for, seriously. All we hear is Rou playing piano while he exclaims that he will “live out this fantasy”. Stalemate is perfect, but so unlike Enter Shikari – in a good way of course!
Back in December, Enter Shikari premiered a new song from the album titled “Gandhi Mate, Gandhi”. The song is definitely the most out of place and odd song on the whole album. The track originates from one of Rou’s dub step tracks (Gut up to This). The drop is heavy, rage-y and danceable. Definitely something to be scared of in mosh pits! One of the albums heavier moments comes when Rou starts shouting over a brilliant drum beat from Rob (Rolfe, Drums). The song briefly stops when Rou, Rory and Rob shout at each other to calm down and remember Gandhi. A sweet heavy metal-y drop kicks in after a brief guitar solo where Rou speedily talks about needing to stop, think and revive. The last minute could be used better with it just being used for a few bass-y bleeps and “Transmit Emergency Frequency” spats by Rou. Definitely a highlight! The lyrical path explored in this song is probably one of the strongest demonstrated on the whole album, for example the first 40 seconds of ranting where Rou has a good old go at the government (a la Shikari)!
The ending of Gandhi segues perfectly into the next track, “Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here”. This song is more of a light rock song for the first 2,5 minutes. A sweet Arctic Monkey’s-y drum beat and a Muse like riff underlie soft rock vocals by Rou, perfect lyricised (“and with these humble tools, we can trigger any emotion”). The chorus is worthy of a stadium gig, you can imagine 70,000 people singing along and then clapping to the 1-2 hand clap beat between Chorus and Verse. Like we’d expect from Shikari, it turns nasty (in an awesome way). Rou starts to shout the album title out (well, more like scream) over a heavy metal riff which could come straight out of an album by Metallica. Of course separating both parts of the song is an electro breakdown with bleepy voices. The song ends with a fade out of Rou and Rob working together to create a Stadium Sized outro. The title of the song gets shouted over a “We Will Rock You”-esque beat. Well, not exactly We Will Rock You but something similair!
One of my album highlights is the next song, “Pack of Thieves”. Opening up with a lovely piano intro which (as has been said before) sounds like it could come from the show American Beauty, the song quickly turns into a monster of Stadium Rock sized choruses, even more so than the previous track. The chorus is one major highlight with the shouting of “Hide behind those eyes/There is something you should know”. Towards the middle part is a breakdown before heading into a dub step style drop where 2 perfectly lyricised lines mix in with a screaming line of “This can’t be real”. The song ends with a perfectly orchestrated Chorus which sounds like it has a choir in the background. It doesn’t of course really have a choir, but it’s close. It’s a song you can really fall in love with and is a contender for best song on the album.
We proceed into the penultimate track, which is one of the heavier moments on the album – “Hello Tyrannosauras, Meet Tyrannicide”. The intro sounds like an Asian Ukulele is being played, then there is the heavy-as-hell drop and Rou screaming that “Nature is the only dictator”. The line that speaks out the most is probably “You haven’t read your history yet have you, just regurgitated lies”. Overall it’s one of the heavier songs on the album yet is mixed with some lighter moments. It’s a shame the song ends so soon, it has so much potential to be a 5-minute smashing epic. It might not be a 5-minute smashing epic, but the final track is just that!
The last song is “Constellations”. It starts off with some simple plonking of Piano before a whole story about Rou going to the train station with two platforms. He awaits two trains, Disaster and Sustainability. He seemingly avoids both. The song is beautifully crafted with a tearful ending. Once Rou starts about needing to “Use our own two feet to walk these tracks”, you can’t help but get tears in your eyes. The lyrics are so amazing and inspirational. A final banging of the drums, strumming of the guitar and slapping of the bass brings the song to a beautiful close and also brings the whole album to an end, in perfect style.
With this album Shikari have managed to do it again, but better. With Take to the Skies you could sense the rawness of the songs, with Common Dreads you could hear the anger in the lyrics and with A Flash Flood of Colour you can feel the beauty in the lyrics. Wonderful stuff!
This’ll definitely be the main contender for album of the year in many of our eyes!
You can listen to and watch the videos for singles Ssnakepit, Arguing with Thermometers and previewed track Gandhi Mate, Gandhi below:
Arguing with Thermometers
Gandhi Mate, Gandhi
ENTER SHIKARI // A FLASH FLOOD OF COLOUR
Out now on Ambush Reality (UK) and Hopeless (USA)
Tracklisting (recommended tracks are with an *)
2. …Meltdown *
4. Search Party
5. Arguing with Thermometers *
6. Stalemate *
7. Gandhi Mate, Gandhi
8. Warm Smiles do not Make You Welcome Here
9. Pack of Thieves *
10. Hello Tyrannosauras, Meet Tyrannicide
11. Constellations *
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