And that's fine. As a British friend who knows dubstep told me here in Amsterdam, "American DJs don't know dubstep, so it's fine if you don't."
And that's a pretty good summation for the intro to Enter Shikari. A band that merges post-hardcore with electro, industrial and yes, dubstep, not only are they one of the most refreshing and exciting bands out there, but they serve as an example of everything that we are doing wrong stateside.
You see, the UK has Enter Shikari. The States have brokeNCYDE.
And given the choice, I'll take Enter Shikari. Even not given the choice, I'll still take Enter Shikari.
Their third release, A Flash Flood Of Color finds the band continuing to expand musical and political boundaries, merging sounds that I know very well (post-hardcore and industrial) with the sounds that I'm not familiar with. And doing it amazingly.
Some of the songs are absolutely intense, like "Sssnakepit," as the band channels raw hardcore power, dropping it on a foundation of beats that are positively anthemic, with aggressive guitars that sometimes sludge it up, and anthemic choruses (Listen/Download). Some, like "Constellations," are more majestic musical compositions with a flowing feel (Listen/Download). And some, like "Stalemate" go for an almost blatantly radio-friendly hook (Listen/Download). But it's all well thought out, with the feeling that each and every musical move this band makes was planned out far in advance. They're not just musicians, they're musical strategists.
It would be entirely remiss if I were to focus simply on the sound of A Flash Flood Of Color without addressing its message as well. Blatantly political, the band takes a stance on a wide range of issues, from their metallic dance discussion of global warming on "Arguing With Thermometers" (Listen/Download), or their soft acoustic anti-war statement on "Stalemate," which leads into the danceable rant that is "Gandhi Mate, Gandhi," opening with the simple stance of "I don't know about you, but I don't think the primary purpose of your life, of my life and the entirety of the human race is just to blindly consume to support a failing economy and a faulty system" (Listen/Download).
It's truly the next step in the musical progression set up by industrial and digital hardcore bands that have come before, like Consolidated and Atari Teenage Riot - danceability and political action need not be mutually exclusive, and while it may not be within any band's responsibility to act as a political guide to its fans, there will always be a necessity for it, and when it's this listenable as well, it's that much more perfect.
On "Search Party," the band pauses for a quiet reflection over tranquil music in order to croon a soft message ("I know we're going to repeat history unless we sort this out.), before hammering down on intense beats and assaultive guitars once more (Listen/Download). It's as if to say, "let's stop and realize what this is all about. Got it? Good. Now let's dance again."
Therein lies the power of Enter Shikari. They're taking their innovative and exciting sound and using it to purvey a message to their fans to get them active, thinking and involved. Like New Tomorrow said with the title of their 2009 hardcore release, We're Counting on the Youth. A truer statement was never made, and it's good to see that band like Enter Shikari is accepting this responsibility, and not shirking it in favor of mindless (and painfully unlistenable) hip hop beats like brokeNCYDE. If the bands are any indication, the next politically focused youth movement will come from the UK and from this new-fangled dubstep, and not from the land of kids bopping along to "crunkcore."
Release Date: January 17, 2012