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Common Dreads CD
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The sleepily historic Roman city of St Albans isn't exactly renowned for its excellent bands. Trust me, I know - I grew up there. That is set to change with the release of local foursome Enter Shikari's spankingly brilliant second album Common Dreads.
There was a lot to live up to with this disc, released through their own label Ambush Reality. Enter Shikari made it on to the NME's 'New Noise List' in 2007 and their debut album Take To The Skies reached number 4 in the UK charts, going gold in the process.
Luckily, this album doesn't disappoint - in fact it wows at every turn. The mashup of post hardcore and trance is weirdly, unexpectedly good for starters. And there's a huge variety of song, rhythm and lyric styles to enjoy.
What's even better is the positive, inspiring message the group seem to promote. Some songs incite political action (''you can destroy imbalance and change your values'') others are just ridiculously cheerful, with lyrics like, ''it's glorious outside''. It's a refreshing change from the all-too-dirgey ditch rock songs can often sit in.
Though Rou Reynolds' vocals can be screechy in places, the general vibe is great with good vocals, lyrics (''Sometimes I do wish apples were our currency / So your hoarded millions would rot in a vault'') and melodies throughout. Occasionally there are flashes of Linkin Park or The Prodigy, but mostly this is a sound all Enter Shikari's very own.
Highlights are fabulously catchy first single Juggernauts, swelling grower Wall, teenage anthem Hectic with its computer-game-esque melody and the unexpectedly twinkly and lovely Gap In The Fence. The album is packed with anthems too - The Jester is Blur's Parklife for the Noughties. And No Sleep Tonight is a hardcore reply to Faithless' Insomnia.
The only complaint with Common Dreads? It's so short and sweet that when the last bars of Fanfare For The Conscious Man trickle into the distance after less than an hour, you're left desperate for more. Expect the 13 emblems currently sitting in the band's online Fan Tattoo Gallery to swell immediately on release. --Sophie Bruce
Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window
Top Customer Reviews
I have already expressed my enthusiasm elsewhere in these venerable
pages for their 2007 debut 'Take To The Skies'. A stunning first showing.
They make a big, big sound but the unbridled energy is always
tempered by a remarkably mature and refined musical sensibility.
The fifteen tracks which comprise their new release 'Common Dreads'
create a veritable powerhouse of crackling, ribald electricity.
With 'Juggernauts' they strike a marvelous balance between
stirring anthemic harmonies, naive but warm-hearted social
commentary and convincingly calibrated hard-edged rock.
This ability to bring potentially conflicting elements together
and produce credible and hugely enjoyable soundscapes is a real gift.
'Wall' is another powerhouse track. Mr Rolfe's drums are, here
and elsewhere on the album, the glue which keeps it all together.
'Zzzonked' delivers a small nod in Prodigy's direction with the
cocky but affectionate knowledge that they are the new kids
on this particular block. Fresh paint on an old facade.
'No Sleep Tonight', not unlike 'Jonny Sniper' on their previous
release, has a killer chorus and a very fine vocal performance
from Mr Reynolds. This lad really can belt out a good tune!
'Gap In The Fence' is as fine a song as we are
likely to encounter for the rest of the year.
It's all good. Nothing wasted. Nothing to throw to the dogs.
Blissfully brilliant !
Overall this is not the scream-fest of the last album. Instead pure raw screaming is mixed with a more head smart use of lyrics, topics, vocal impact and overall musical technique. For example Rou's definition of harshness is not just limited to screaming, the electronic parts draw more widely on drum and bass etc and also sampling found in pure electronic music. This effort matches Genghis Tron's effort in its audacity and willingness to embrace all the ingredients and make an unexpected recipe!
This is awesome and will no doubt see a greater abundance of glowsticks and moshing at their next gigs!
See also Genghis Tron, Atari Teenage Riot, Mad Capsule Markets.
Overall, this album is highly recommended for anyone who enjoys the rocky moments of music, to the subtle atmospheric tracks that you'll find on this album.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Such an amazing band. Had to buy this album after seeing them live for the second time. Incredible! Would recommend!Published on 3 May 2013 by J. Robertson
The CD was in perfect condition and the album is great!
Look out for Zzzonked, Solidarity, Juggernauts and Jester. Bring on Enter Shikari's tour!
Never off the iPod along with their other cd's..classic ! glorious harmonies , gutteral roars & poetic lyrics !Musical marmite , spread it on ! LOVE IT !Published on 6 Jan. 2012 by Treborus
What a great band. I like their style - which seems to constantly change while at the same time remains very unique.Published on 18 May 2011 by Kindle Customer