En­ter shikari

The Spark

Classic Rock - - The Hard Stuff Albums - Philip Wild­ing

Fifth al­bum shows the band are learn­ing how to protest and sur­vive.

En­ter Shikari’s tu­mul­tuous rise to the top, with their volatile mix of protest, pol­i­tics, rap, hard rock, metal and the oc­ca­sional thud­ding dance step, might have gone right past you.

Even by the band’s self-ex­act­ing stan­dards, The Spark had a tough start in life, singer Rou Reynolds hav­ing spent the past year bat­tling gen­eral anx­i­ety disor­der. Com­bine that with the al­bum’s and band’s some­times fa­mil­iar tropes – Brexit, Trump, the NHS in free fall – and it’s lit­tle won­der that the record is riven with angst, strife and re­mon­stra­tion. Which makes it sound like a knotty propo­si­tion. But ac­tu­ally it’s quite the op­po­site, and even a song like Take My Coun­try Back is a com­bi­na­tion of roar­ing de­fi­ance and sub­lime pop notes. Ditto the rous­ing Un­der­cover Agents and the am­bi­tious An

Ode To Lost Jig­saw Pieces. It’s thrilling stuff, clever too.

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