Enter Shikari - Take To The Skies
Ross Drummond 18/03/2007
I shall not repeat Mr Miller's intro of Enter Shikari but shall point out that the next time you read that a band has decided to go it alone (like Enter Shikari have with their own record label Ambush Reality), dig a little deeper, as their D.I.Y ethic is not quite as new and innovative as it may seem. With a publishing deal from that super independent company Universal Music and distribution from Vital it appears that going it alone can involve some hidden helping hands.
Clocking in at just under an hour and without any spaces of silence, replaced with 4 (yes, 4) interludes, 'Take To The Skies' runs just like a dance record with each song flowing into one another on a sea of trance induced post hardcore, screaming madness. At times the length of the songs, can't help but make me wonder that, had they signed to a major label, certain tracks could have been cut considerably into a more radio friendly format. Nothing wrong with keeping your artistic integrity of course and its probably the soul reason they are on their own label, it's just that at times on tracks such as 'Labyrinth', 'Mothership' and 'Return To Energizer' you think they could have cut a good minute and a half of trance instrumental and you wouldn't miss out.
Something that may disappoint the more hardcore Enter Shikari fan is that this album is consists heavily of their more recent EPs albeit re-recorded and with little changes here and there. Although standout tracks such as 'Sorry You're Not a Winner' with its opening riff (best one of the year) and hand claps (which I'm a sucker for) and 'OK Time For Plan B' still sound fresh and are definite crowd pleasers you can't help but wonder that when listening to the new songs 'No Sssweat' and 'Adieu' that had they spent a bit more time writing the album could be even stronger.
All criticism aside this is a strong debut record. Though it may not be quite as new and innovative as is being made out in other press, (would John Peel give them the award for innovation had he been alive today?) There is something about this band that is quite compelling and the fact that they have managed to contain some of the brilliance of their live show (which is where they shine) on record shows that going it “alone” has worked out after all. But what do i know; maybe it's just the glow-sticks from my teenybopper days that have blinded me.