We are the dust on the stained glass windows, trying to comprehend the cathedral…
It’s been a long time since I bought a pop record but hell, it’s happened and it’s brilliant.
The Spark is a people’s album. Homely as a hot drink, 41 minutes hides a delicate touch, a new Shikari – one aimed at infiltrating mediocrity, grabbing the bar and flinging it back to where it should be.
Turning inward, The Spark is a far cry from the scathing political stirrings known of the St Albans lot. Swapping climate change for ponderings on mental health, there’s a quiet sincerity in all. Just why do we choose to put ourselves through it? In 2017, Enter Shikari finds voice in attempting to answer whilst reckoning with the heartbreaking truth that we’ll almost certainly never know.
Frontman Rou Reynolds’ quivering plucks in the final moments of An Ode To Lost Jigsaw Pieces is testament to the true heart of The Spark. A reflection of his losing both grandparents and long time girlfriend in the space of two years, it’s a bare-all we’ve rarely seen from the lads and Rou’s mourning is but the punctuation on a love letter to resilience and brutal honesty.
Those Shikari staples, British cheek and big synth bouncers, continue to trade blows like brothers, though deliberately downplayed this time is the ire. There’s no doubt that Rou’s yells and Liam “Rory” Clewlow’s rumbling breakdowns will be missed but if this is a new dawn for the foursome, a stirring series of falsettos, anthemic choruses and synth explosions are most welcome. It’s still Shikari and exemplifies why those who love this band do so to ends of the Earth. As with those ‘abusing music’s worthless genre boundaries since 2003’, Enter Shikari is a band confident in its direction, sights now squarely on making things better for all.
I’m thankful that The Spark has the last decade of mainstream narcissism but a blip in the rear-view. From the kind-eyed smile of The Sights to Airfield’s rousing lift-off, the boys have crafted a new timeline for pop – a wormhole from the 90s to now, skipping by all the pointless mirror gazing.
Yes, the people’s music has back its heart and good as new, we owe it all to those who tracked it down.