Enter Shikari - A Flash Flood of Colour

Enter Shikari

A Flash Flood of Colour

Released: Jan 16 2012

Genre: Electronic/Hardcore

Label: Ambush Reality

Rating: 8/10

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By James Murray

Enter Shikari has always been about breaking boundaries. Rewinding back to their earliest days under the ‘Hybrid’ alias, exploiting the predefined boundaries of music genres was the core aim: ‘A Flash Flood of Colour’ shows that this motive remains – their most profound and polished record to date.

In a rather crudely simplified way, ‘A Flash Flood of Colour’ sounds like a refined ‘Common Dreads’. As expected, the dubstep/drum & bass influences are heavily featured, however, this time round productions are tighter and as a result the record is a lot more professional sounding.

Opener ‘System…’ ‘…Meltdown’ eases into action with the identical buoyant synth used to introduce ‘Common Dreads’; euphoric keys take the place of a vocal introduction – a subtle hint at the electronic-driven tracks which, for the first time in the history of Enter Shikari, perhaps overtake their hardcore elements. That’s not to say this is an electronic record: ‘A Flash Flood of Colour’ is still heavy at times, driven by political rage and robust as ever – Enter Shikari are just perfecting the electronic cross-over sound that they’ve been experimenting with for years.

The opening two tracks are heavily influenced by drum and bass, including the now familiar-to-many ‘Sssnakepit’, which epitomises the new Enter Shikari sound. While the intense breakdowns, relentless rock/synth melodies and trademark Enter Shikari choruses dominate the majority of ‘A Flash Flood of Colour’, the less experimental, toned down tracks are equally, if not more effective. The downbeat ‘Search Party’ is vocally emphatic; evoking the vision of far-reaching fields filled with chanting Enter Shikari fans at mind.

The hit-hat driven ‘Arguing With Thermometers’ showcases the most infectious, dance-floor friendly choruses Enter Shikari have ever created, and as a result it won’t take many listens before it’ll be jammed into your head for days: “That’s the sound of another door shutting in, in the face of progress, in the face of progress”.

Stalemate’ and ‘Constellations’ follow suit with this much softer Enter Shikari sound. Both politically forceful and educating, ‘Stalemate’ acts as an instrumental ode to ‘Adieu’ – though not quite as mellow, the same melodically/vocal hard-hitting formula remains. The entire five minutes of ‘Constellations’ is a steadily progressive message of optimism, beautifully delivered with light keys and heart-felt vocals.

A Flash Flood of Colour’ is a forward-thinking record for forward-thinking music fans. If you’re expecting a musical regression back to ‘Take To The Skies’ look away now. For the pro-evolutionist, this record encapsulates almost every successful trait Enter Shikari have ever possessed – delivered in a musically mature, and as a result, engaging third full-length.

Enter Shikari – Sssnakepit

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Enter Shikari - New single soon.

Enter Shikari have announced that on May 19th they’ll be releasing a new stand alone single – although the band have said that the single does not coincide with the release of their eagerly anticipated third album.

The single named Quelle Surprise will also include two remixes of Destabilise, one of which will be by Rout, as well as a live recording of Hectic.

As well as the new single release, Enter Shikari have announce that they’ll be releasing a new live DVD entitled Live From Planet Earth. 

The release will include two DVD’s:

DVD 1 – ‘Live At Hatfield. Christmas 2010’ + ‘Live At Camden Underworld. August 2010’.

DVD 2 – ‘Fizzy Water & Spikey Blankets (A Weekend In Russia. May 2010)’ + ‘Live At Hammersmith. February 2010’ + ‘Live At Summersonic, Tokyo. August 2009’.

A limited edition DVD boxset will be sold exclusively from the band’s store.

Here is a clip of Hectic from the DVD:

Sound-Revolution Top 50 Tracks of 2009

2009 has certainly been a refreshing year for music, big names Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian releasing hyped albums, while new kids The xx and Wild Beasts made their mark on the British music scene. Needless to say, some acts were more pleasing than others. Whether it was 80’s sounds from uprising bands or innovative attempts from big names, 2009 has been a year of some brilliant new music and plenty of uncreative dross. Sound-Revolution explores the best 50 tracks of the past year.

#50

Wavves – So Bored

Wavves - So Bored

Wavves - So Bored

California based lo-fi band, Wavves have made an impact this year. For a band formed in 2009, ‘So Bored’ is one of the most original and creative tracks of the year. Debut album Wavvves has been a great success for Nathan Williams, with help from touring assistant Ryan Ulsh, and of course, a little bit of Pitchfork exposure…

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#49

Jamie T – Sticks ‘n’ Stones

Jamie T - Sticks N Stones

Jamie T - Sticks N Stones

A catchy, remeniscent song about British culture. Jamie Treays ‘ 2009 album Kings and Queens was subject to critical acclaim, Sticks ‘n’ Stones being the stand-out track. Who can really argue with a song that tells a story through an up-tempo summer-time party track?

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#48

Muse – Uprising

Muse - Uprising

Muse - Uprising

2009 marked the year of The Resistance for Muse, a big-name band experimenting with new styles. The Resistance, despite varied critical response, was a pretty successful and solid album, regardless of a change in style. The futuristic sounds of Uprising, the album opener, definately deserves a place in the top 50.

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#47

Röyksopp – Happy Up Here

Röyksopp - Happy Up Here

Röyksopp - Happy Up Here

Short but sweet. Happy Up Here, as implied, is one of the most cheerful and uplifting tracks of the year… if not the decade. The Norwegian duo certainly know how to make a varied album, 2009 release Junior is a diverse electronic album, filled with ambient, chillout and uplifting tracks.

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#46

Paramore – Ignorance

Paramore - Ignorance

Paramore - Ignorance

Paramore are by no means a new band, however, 2009 has seen Halyley Williams and co. gain a very healthy fan base. Twilight‘s impact on their success, with it’s cult following of teenage girls has certainly transferred to the band’s success, however, shouldn’t be taken away from the success of brand new eyes.

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#45

HEALTH – Die Slow

HEALTH - Die Slow

HEALTH - Die Slow

Noise rock band HEALTH released Get Color in September. It gained a good reception from all major online critics, including Metacritic and Drowned In Sound. The eccentric sound of HEALTH is an example of the truly refreshing music of 2009.

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#44

Editors – Papillon

Editors - Papillon

Editors - Papillon

The idea of Editors going electronic, understandably left many fans left slightly skeptical surrounding the outcome of Editors 2009 album release, In This Light and On This Evening. As ever, when a typically indie band follows trend and tries an electronic-esque style, response is varied; however, Papillon proves that a switch in style can certainly be perfected.

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#43

Gallows – Misery

Gallows - Misery

Gallows - Misery

Hardcore punk kings, Gallows, are at the forefront of the British hardcore scene, and the release of 2009 album Grey Britain helped keep the five-piece on top of the game. Vocalist, Carter, wrote Misery when he was at his ‘lowest ebb’. The breakdown and downright instrumental aggresson puts this super-heavy track nicely in the top 50.

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#42

Golden Silvers – True Romance

Golden Silvers - True Romance

Golden Silvers - True Romance

Light hearted alternative rock makes great listening, and this debonair trio know exactly how to create mellow, warming music. The 70’s disco style of several songs throughout True Romance, including the album titled track gives the song a nostalgic, yet positive sound. An up-beat, serene track that’s enough to place a smile on any face.

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#41

Jay Z + Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind

Jay Z - New York State of Mind

Jay Z - Empire State of Mind

Jay-Z is without a doubt one of the biggest names in rap, and The Blueprint 3 is an album packed with great production and plenty of renowned guest vocals. The Blueprint 3 is a great universal album, less cultured than the majority of rap, opening Jay Z’s music to a wider audience who can appreciate and absorb the great vibes of tracks such as Empire State of Mind.

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#40

Frank Turner – The Road

Frank Turner - The Road

Frank Turner - The Road

The Road is a great acoustic folk record from UK solo artist Frank Turner. Since starting out in 2001, Frank Turner has gradually built up a solid fan base, focusing on a genre of music that gets little exposure. The first single release from Poetry of the Deed has recieved recognition from the likes of Radio1 and NME

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#39

2562 – Lost

2562 - Lost

2562 - Lost

2009 has been a great year for dubstep, bringing the genre to the attention of the UK audience, as well as the likes of US hip-hop stars, Snoop Dogg and The Wu-Tang Clan. 2562 is situated in Amsterdam, a greatly talented dubstep producer with an incredible album, Unbalance.

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#38

Placebo – Ashtray Heart

Placebo - Ashtray Heart

Placebo - Ashtray Heart

2009 has been a great year for Placebo. The three-piece had success with their latest album Battle For The Sun, with the replacement drummer, Steve Forrest, and a successful UK tour including Reading and Leeds Festivals. Ashtray Heart, was the original name of the band, and now also a great single.

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#37

Grammatics – Relentless Fours

Grammatics - Relentless Fours

Grammatics - Relentless Fours

This four-piece from Leeds have proven themselves in 2009. Grammatics are a band that clearly understand music; their self-titled album is lyrically and instrumentally complex and dynamic – a musical journey. Touring with Bloc Party has given them great exposure. Relentless Fours is a beautifully crafted six minutes of orchestral indie rock.

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#36

Dan Black – Symphonies

Dan Black - Symphonies

Dan Black - Symphonies

2008 first gave way to Dan Black, after his previous band The Servant split up. Dan Black went on to create HYPNTZ, a mash up of Rihanna and Notorious B.I.G. 2009 saw the release of the solo pop artist’s debut album Un, still waiting on significant success, Dan Black is a great electropop artist.

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#35

Biffy Clyro – That Golden Rule

Biffy Clyro - That Golden Rule

Biffy Clyro - That Golden Rule

Released ahead of November release, Only Revolutions, That Golden Rule let fans know that the forthcoming album was going to be speical. The distinctively heavy sound of That Golden Rule and powerful guitar riff makes it a great alternative rock track.

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#34

Dirty Projectors – Stillness Is The Move

Dirty Projectors - Stillness Is The Move

Dirty Projectors - Stillness Is The Move

Dirty Projectors’ 2009 release, Bitte Orca has recieved an insane amount of critical acclaim. End of year lists including the likes of Pitchfork have placed this album in the top 5 of the year. Stillness Is The Move is the most pop-orientated track from the album, surrounding the fear and comfort of ‘settling-down’.

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#33

Green Day – East Jesus Nowhere

Green Day - East Jesus Nowhere

Green Day - East Jesus Nowhere

2009 album release, 21st Century Breakdown was one of the big artist releases of the year. With a huge tracklist of 18 tracks, the likliness of a few great songs was high – East Jesus Nowhere was one of these. With a a heavy opening guitar riff and powerful chorus this is the Green Day we know well.

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#32

Enter Shikari – Zzzonked

Enter Shikari - Zzzonked

Enter Shikari - Zzzonked

Enter Shikari have enjoyed 2009, the year of their second album, Common Dreads, and a large-scale UK tour. Zzzonked illustrates the band’s continued desire to cause musical havoc, on top of their newly emphasised political stance.

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#31

Duck Sauce – AnYway

Duck Sauce - AnYway

Duck Sauce - AnYway

The electro-house soundtrack to the summer of 2009. The collaberation of Duck Sauce, A-Trak and Armand Van Helden, brought us a funky house track remeniscent of 80’s disco. Hopefully Duck Sauce will be a project that continues throughout 2010.

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#30

Muse – Unnatural Selection

Muse - Unnatural Selection

Muse - Unnatural Selection

The mid-album track on The Resistance, Unnatural Selection, contrasts in many ways to the rest of the release. Less innovative than the rest of the album, Unnatural Selection is a raw sounding typical Muse track; fast-paced guitar riffs, powerful vocals and an epic breakdown.

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#29

The Ghost of a Thousand – Bright Lights

The Ghost of a Thousand - Bright Lights

The Ghost of a Thousand - Bright Lights

The follow up to the band’s debult album; This Is Where The Fight Begins, brought us a heavier sound than we were used to, but certainly not a disappointing one. New Hopes, New Demonstrations is one of the best metal albums of the year, by a band that are still overlooked despite recognition from Q and Kerrang.

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#28

The Skints – Culture Vulture

The Skints - Culture Vulture

The Skints - Culture Vulture

Still practically unheard of, The Skints have released an amazingly powerful reggae punk album this year. Only recieving recogntion from Sound-Revolution and Punktastic, Live.Breathe.Build.Believe is a politically relevant and musically sublime debut album, that could potentially open-up a genre to a whole new audience.

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#27

The Dead Weather – Treat Me Like Your Mother

The Dead Weather - Treat Me Like Your Mother

The Dead Weather - Treat Me Like Your Mother

Alternative rock group, The Dead Weather, is a supergroup, featuring Alison Mosshart, Jack White, Dean Fertita and Jack Lawrence. Along with one of the best music videos of 2009, Treat Me Like Your Mother, is a lyrically powerful track, with raw sounding, garage rock elements.

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#26

Sonic Boom Six – The Concrete We’re Trapped Within (It’s Yours)

Sonic Boom Six - The Concrete We're Trapped Within (It's Yours)

Sonic Boom Six - The Concrete We're Trapped Within (It's Yours)

Sample-tastic City of Thieves, is a political punk-rock album. The five-piece (after vocalist and guitarist Ben Childs recently left the band) have made great progress this year. For a band differing so greatly from commercial and mainstream punk, SB6 have played a UK tour and even got the opening slot at Reading and Leeds festivals.

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#25

The Prodigy – Take Me To The Hospital

The Prodigy - Take Me To The Hospital

The Prodigy - Take Me To The Hospital

Invaders Must Die was without a doubt one of the most energetic, rave albums of 2009. Take Me To The Hosptail is an electronic, breakbeat anthem, and a track within an album that will surely be played in years to come. A host of fantastic live performances at festivals across the world helped place this track in the top 50.

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#24

Them Crooked Vultures – No One Loves Me & Neither Do I

Them Crooked Vultures - Mind Eraser, No Chaser

Them Crooked Vultures - Mind Eraser, No Chaser

The second super group in the top 50 is Them Crooked Vultures. Some of the biggest names in music including Josh Homme and Dave Grohl form the alternative hard rock group, and regarding the ridisculously high expectations from music fans, Them Crooked Vultures delivered, with an album filled with instrumental talent.

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#23

The Drums – I Felt Stupid

The Drums - I Felt Stupid

The Drums - I Felt Stupid

Brooklyn based duo, The Drums, were named “New York’s official Collest New Band” by NME, on top of recogniton from Rolling Stone and The New York Times. 2009 saw the release of The Drums’ debut EP, and with NME’s seal of approval we can expect to see these contageous indie rockers visit the UK in  2010.

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#22

Miike Snow – Animal

Miike Snow - Animal

Miike Snow - Animal

Swedish electropop group Miike Snow have recieved great amounts of exposure this year, with two greatly recieved singles, Animal and Black and Blue, both tracks from the debut, self-titled album. With band members producing tracks for the likes of Britney, Kylie and Madonna, the high standard production levels are to be expected.

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#21

Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man

Mumford & Sons - Little Lion Man

Mumford & Sons - Little Lion Man

Indie folk outfit, Mumford & Sons, started up in 2007, and 2009 and has seen the release of debut album, Sign No More and ever-more popular track, Little Lion Man. Indie folk is rather different to the majority of tracks that gain commercial success, but this powerful folk song has offered a refreshing outlook on music for many listeners.

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#20

Alexisonfire – Young Cardinals

Alexisonfire - Young Cardinals

Alexisonfire - Young Cardinals

Alexisonfire are one of the biggest names behind the Post-hardcore tag, 2009 release, Old Crows Young Cardinals, re-enforcing their stature. The powerful vocals of Dallas Green and harsher vocals of George Pettit create tracks of melodic chaos.

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#19

Dizzee Rascal – Bonkers

Dizzee Rascal - Bonkers

Dizzee Rascal - Bonkers

Dizzee Rascal has taken the hip-hop scene by storm this year, with the release of his latest album Tounge N’ Cheek. Numerous releases including Bonkers contain elements of house and electro, forming an album full of party-perfect tracks. Previously focusing on rap and grime, Dizzee’s turn to pop has resulted in a great year of success.

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#18

Passion Pit – The Reeling

Passion Pit - The Reeling

Passion Pit - The Reeling

US five-piece, Passion Pit, have reached out to the world with their electro-indie 2009 release, Manners. Catching on to the flow of electro influenced indie that emerged from the UK in early 2009, Passion Pit were successful in delivering a fresh sound to the UK and Europe with tracks such as The Reeling.

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#17

The Horrors – Scarlet Fields

The Horrors - Scarlet Fields

The Horrors - Scarlet Fields

The bizzarre sounds of Primary Colours immediately grabbed the interest of the UK audience in April 2009. The horror-punk sounds of Scarlet Fields delivers a sound similar to no other band, making it without a doubt one of the most original tracks of the year.

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#16

The Big Pink – Too Young To Love

The Big Pink - Too Young To Love

The Big Pink - Too Young To Love

Electro-rock duo, The Big Pink, are known for gritty beats and dreamy vocals. 2009 album release, A Brief History of Love, showcased The Big Pink’s talents to create epic sounding, abstract tracks, and earned them the place of sole support for Muse’s The Resistance tour.

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#15

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Zero

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero

Electro-pop group, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, have made their impact on pop music this year with the release of their album, It’s Blitz! The American bands third album has been listed in the top 5 best albums of 2009 by Spin and NME. The three-piece have transferred their music over to the UK audience through appearing at various music festivals.

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#14

Animal Collective – My Girls

Animal Collective - My Girls

Animal Collective - My Girls

Late 2009 has seen a great amount of critical praise head in the way of New York, experimental indie group, Animal Collective. The release of Merriweather Post Pavilion has really captured the European audience with its addictive melodies. My Girls has been voted the #1 track of 2009 by Pitchfork.

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#13

Metric – Help I’m Alive

Metric - Help I'm Alive

Metric - Help I'm Alive

Metric are one of the most addictive bands of 2009. The release of their fourth album, Fantasies, has been shortlisted for the 2009 Polaris Music Prize. The band is lead by the female vocals of Emily Haines, with simplistic lyrics and riffs that will stay in the memory.

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#12

The Antlers – Kettering

The Antlers - Kettering

The Antlers - Kettering

One of the most beautiful bands of the year, The Antlers have come out of nowhere with an album that has crossed the world in no time at all. Pitchfork initially outlined the greatness of their album Hospice, an album fronted by truly incredible vocals from Peter Silberman. Hospice is an album that every listener should give a chance.

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#11

Bat For Lashes – Daniel

Bat For Lashes - Daniel

Bat For Lashes - Daniel

The chillingly beautiful Daniel by Bat For Lashes is the fronting single from 2009 album, Two Suns. Hertfordshire based Natasha Khan uses her voice over dreamy and orchestral instrumentals with a solid beat pattern, creating a rythmic and glamorous end product.

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#10

The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition

The Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition

The Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition

Indie rock band hailing from Melbourne, The Temper Trap, have delievered a contageous and elegant debut album. 2009 album Conditions is full of catchy, fun anthems, fronted by the powerful falsetto vocals of Dougy Mandagi. Sweet Disposition is a powerful single that has captured them a great deal of positive attention.

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#9

F**k Buttons – Surf Solar

F**k Buttons - Surf Solar

F**k Buttons - Surf Solar

This two-piece experimental duo have released an oddly danceable, abstract, album. Tarot Sport is an album of up-beat electronic tracks, busily produced offering a distorted sound, while maintaing positive melodies. Surf Solar is a highly abstract track that in all its complexity is suprisingly very listenable.

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#8

Wave Machines – I Go, I Go, I Go

Wave Machines - I Go, I Go, I Go

Wave Machines - I Go, I Go, I Go

The feel-good track of 2009, I Go, I Go, I Go, is an all-year happy track, that through its simple yet powerful vibes is enough to turn anybody’s day around. Wave If You’re Really There is a simplistic album full of memorable indie tracks from the Liverpool based Wave Machines.

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#7

White Lies – Fairwell To The Fairground

White Lies - Fairwell To The Fairground

White Lies - Fairwell To The Fairground

2008 saw White Lies gain some large scale recognition with To Lose My Life… their debut album release. 2009 release, Fairwell To The Fairground, is an epic indie track, with powerful vocals and an incredible breakdown, “keep on running, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home”. White Lies are a band that everyone can’t wait to see more from in 2010.

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#6

The Horrors – Mirror’s Image

The Horrors - Mirror's Image

The Horrors - Mirror's Image

The hauntingly dark Mirror’s Image is the opening track from The Horror’s 2009 critically acclaimed album Primary Colours. Mirror’s Image creates a mood that persists throughout the entirety of an incredible album that subverts the sounds of generic indie rock, replacing it with sinister horror punk.

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#5

Wild Beasts – Hooting & Howling

Wild Beasts - Hooting & Howling

Wild Beasts - Hooting & Howling

Kendal based Wild Beasts released their 2009 album Two Dancers in August. Two Dancers has been subject to a great amount of critical acclaim from almost all major critics, Hooting & Howling being the first single release. Wild Beasts are a very powerful band who are vocally sublime, with equally excellent lyrics.

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#4

Phoenix – 1901

Phoenix - 1901

Phoenix - 1901

French indie-rockers, Phoenix, have released a stunning 2009 album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. With incredible, catchy tracks such as 1901, and Lisztomania, along side down-beat instrumentally beautiful tracks; Love Like A Sunset Part 1 and Part 2 – it’s difficult not to be admirable of the success Phoenix have had over the past year.

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#3

Kasabian – Underdog

Kasabian - Underdog

Kasabian - Underdog

West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum was one of the most hyped albums of 2009, but regardless of the wait Kasabian fans had between Empire and the 2009 release – it was definately worth it. Underdog is an indie anthem from one of the biggest names in British rock, thanks to an incredible year of remarkable live and studio music.

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#2

Florence + The Machine – Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)

Florence + The Machine - Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)

Florence + The Machine - Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)

One of the most successful groups of the year, Florence + The Machine, have released a brilliant debut album, Lungs. The album has been in the UK charts for 22 consecutive weeks, and that on top of a host of amazing festival performances marks them as one of the best breakthrough acts of 2009. Florence Welch seems pessimistic about her future music career, but new material anywhere close to the spectacular sound of Lungs will only further excel the groups reputation.

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#1

The xx – Islands

The xx - Islands

The xx - Islands

Sound-Revolution‘s breakthrough band of 2009, The xx, have imposed themselves on the UK music scene this year. Practically unheard of in January, debut album release xx resulted in huge-scale critical acclaim, with incredible amounts of backing from BBC Radio1. xx is an extremely mellow album, with experiemental melodies and electronic aspects. The sound of The xx is very minimalistic, but its simplicity has acted as a refreshing change from the generic sounds of alternative rock; illustrating how bands can be successful when they strip down elements of their music and simply focus on the raw, simple sounds. It will certainly be interesting to witness how The xx’s music evolves in 2010.

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Enter Shikari, 02 Academy Sheffield

Enter Shikari (Common Dreads Tour)

Venue: 02 Academy

Location: Sheffield

Date: Oct 15 2009

Label: Ambush Reality

Rating: 4.6/5

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St Albans based Enter Shikari are receiving some of their best publicity since the beginning of their careers began back in 2003. The release of Common Dreads and its generally positive critical response has put the four-piece in a great situation, and as a result hundreds of people were queued outside the academy in anticipation for a band renouned to be one of Britain’s most energetic on-stage.

Support from dubstep outfit True Tiger and hardcore group The Devil Wears Prada clearly offered two very contrasting styles of music. At the time, placing such different bands on-stage seemed somewhat bizarre, however, in after-thought it is clear to recognise that Enter Shikari booked two groups that form the extreme genres of their own hybrid – an electronic/hardcore crossover. By appealing to two bands so dissimilar, it was unsurprising that both received mixed reactions. True Tiger played some of the UK’s biggest dubstep tracks of this year, however, the energy displayed on-stage by a man seemingly hired to do no more than dance and shout down a microphone failed to be reflected with the crowd. Dubstep might not be a fast-tempo music genre, but True Tiger didn’t receive half the recognition they would’ve in a club. The Devil Wears Prada displayed an extremely heavy hardcore set, packed with heavy riffs, throat churning screams and some good old synchronised head-banging. The peripheries of the room seemed to be somewhat amused by the on-stage synchronisation, however, towards the front of the stalls were plenty of dedicated fans causing chaos and tumult in preparation for Enter Shikari.

The set opened with, somewhat predictably, the Common Dreads self titled opening track. ‘Common Dreads’ was played out loud as the St Albans group prepared to get the crowd moving with the new album fan favourite, ‘Solidarity’. The opening two songs sent the atmosphere straight up, “and now the floodgates will open” was seemingly lead vocalist Rou’s code phrase to tell the crowd to go crazy, the crowd and band alike kicking into action. Playing a high proportion of tracks off the new album and the singles from debut album Take to the Skies offered a good variety of style, for a (it must be said) rather animalistic crowd. Dubstep interlude tracks, Havoc A and Havoc B offered a refreshing break from testosterone fuelled carnage, giving people a moment to remember their own sanity before smashing into each other again with the likes of debut album heavy tracks ‘Labyrinth’ and ‘Mothership’.

The encore consisted of recent hit single ‘Juggernauts’, which went down well with the crowd, maintaining high energy levels right until the conclusion. Enter Shikari are a great band in the studio, and a good band on-stage; if an energy packed, intense crowd atmosphere appeals to gig-goers then wherever Enter Shikari are next is the place to be.

~ Article by James Murray

Leeds Festival 2009

Leeds Festival (Friday)

Date: Aug 28 2009

Institution: Festival Republic

Sponsers: Radio 1, NME, Tuborg, HMV, Relentless, Gaymers

Rating: 4.8/5

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Leeds Festival, in its 11th year, offered an interesting line-up, with an array of exciting up-coming bands, as well as the likes of Radiohead, Kings of Leon and Faith No More. Friday, with the great main stage line-up of The Prodigy followed by the Arctic Monkeys, suggested the thousands of festival-goers would be up for an energetic, sing-a-long finale to the opening evening of music.

The opening act of the Festival Republic stage gave us Skint and Demoralised, a solo indie act, combining indie-pop with poetic, often comical breaks, showcasing the young Wakefield talent’s song and poem writing ability. Pulled Apart By Horses followed the opening act, a punk four-piece hailing from Leeds, again a local addition to the early afternoon line-up. Walking out on to the stage in fluorescent capes, it was instantly clear that this band would put on something out of the ordinary. The energy levels were overwhelmingly high for a 12:45 set in one of the smaller tents of the festival, the crowd never really caught on to the high levels of energy – leaving a lack of atmosphere in the tent and a slight lack of overall satisfaction, the venue perhaps not being so much in their favour.

Detroit Social Club is a Newcastle based alternative rock group, awaiting their debut album after many positive critical reports and also after completing tours with Oasis and Twisted Wheel. As soon as the band began to play they gave off the aurora of a powerful rock/soul group. The performance, vocally and instrumentally was very strong; all critical approval justified. Enter Shikari attracted a large crowd for the main stage mid-afternoon. The tracks played varied from new and old album singles, along with the dubstep influenced ‘Havoc B’. The crowd was fantastic throughout, energy levels were very high and the aggression displayed by the post-hardcore band on stage was mirrored in the crowd, mosh pits unavoidable in areas. In the NME issue containing the Leeds Festival reviews, Enter Shikari was described as ‘an utterly ridiculous band’, but then again, Enter Shikari isn’t generic indie rock.

Middle Class Rut is a heavy alternative rock duo from California. The duo’s ability to create such sophisticated and busy tracks on-stage as well as on record is very impressive, although the crowd in the Festival Republic tent consisted of no more than 80 people – certainly not the reception they deserved. Give these two a few years to gain some recognition and they could offer some of the most intense gigs around, with high tempo riffs and Stockham’s admirable drumming ability.

White Lies played the NME stage Friday evening, performing a selection of tracks from their debut album superbly – McVeigh’s vocals so sublime they could put on a great performance in any venue. Amongst the old tracks were one or two promising sounding new tracks, a band that can only really move up in stature. The Prodigy were tipped by the majority to be one of the most powerful gigs of the weekend, and the band failed to disappoint, putting on a highly entertaining, energetic hour of Prodigy classics and new hits, of which all the crowd expected.

Rise Against headlined the Lock Up stage and put on a great performance; new album tracks were played including ‘Saviour’, a track that wasn’t performed live on their UK tour earlier in the year. As usual, a forceful performance and a packed out venue left the gig feeling powerful and intimate, the perfect recipe for any good gig.

A rather intoxicated Alex Turner hit the Leeds main stage at 10pm Friday, and rather predictably, but to the disappointment of the crowd, played three new songs to get things going. Despite ‘My Propeller’ being a great opener, when playing to tens of thousands of people, of which 50% have likely never heard the new album, it would make more sense to play a classic to get the crowd in the mood. The proportion of new tracks played was over a third, clearly advertising the bands new sound. Overall the Arctic Monkeys put on a strong headline performance, although somewhat overshadowed by the force of the Prodigy’s sub-headliner slot.

~Article by James Murray

Take To The Skies

Take To The Skies

Enter Shikari

Take To The Skies

Released: Mar 19 2007

Label: Ambush Reality

Genre: Post-Hardcore

Rating: 3.7/5

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With the release of ‘Take to the Skies’ in March 2007, Enter Shikari brought music listeners a combination of hardcore music, from both rock and electro music, in order to produce a post-hardcore, trance-esque album.

The album reached number 4 in the UK albums charts, selling over 60,000 copies, a great start for the debut album. The vocals throughout the album are based on a transition from heavier, hardcore vocals, to more melodic softer vocals, meanwhile the instrumentals follow the same pattern, with heavy riffs transcending into soft trance melodies such as throughout ‘Sorry You’re Not a Winner’. Critics argue that Roughton’s (Rou’s) vocals are ineffective, and that his scream voice, ‘of a better word, is terrible’.[1]My opinion on the vocals tend to be that Rou’s hardcore characteristics are strong enough to create a good track, however when used in collaboration with more melodic vocals tend to produce a more appealing overall product.

Enter Shikari receive a lot of positive feedback and recognition due to their live and festival performances: ‘Put it in on your stereo – loud – and it begins to come clear. But you probably need to picture the festival scene…’[2]. The beauty of Enter Shikari’s live performances is their diversity, which can be executed and displayed on stage. Pre – ‘Take to the Skies’ material was lacking some of the electro, synth based elements of the debut album; furthermore, the forthcoming follow up album ‘Common Dreads’ promises a fresh, although still highly energetic sound. When performing an array of material on-stage Enter Shikari seem to be able to create an entertaining up-beat atmosphere, sometimes unattainable with many bands of today. I’ll be able to judge for myself this summer, as they continue their UK tour and proceed towards this summer’s festivals.

[1]http://www.sputnikmusic.com/album.php?albumid=16837
[2]http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/jcp2/

~ Article by James Murray