Without a shadow of a doubt this is going to be one of the year’s biggest rock releases; Enter Shikari being a band that have achieved major crossover success and will be embraced as much by rockers as they will be by trendy types and chart lovers. Combining UK style hardcore and some metal elements with Dance rhythms and Drum And Bass crunch, becoming one of the Countries most popular bands, and all the best to them for it. I myself had never checked the band out before, but as I have gradually got in to Dubstep and to an extent Drum And Bass, a band that mixes it together with Hardcore and Metal should be right up my street right?
Sadly it seems that A Flash Flood Of Colour is not the best place to start, or their best effort or...actually simply this is not a great album whatsoever. Too many things crop on occasion here that simply irritate me and do not feel necessary, or feel misleading. A brief listen to some earlier music from the band (especially from the debut) suggests that the band do genuinely mix hardcore and electronica to decent effect; here on the other hand they have not implemented them at all, instead it will be dance style beat, followed by slightly metal riff, hardcore breakdown, back to a dance like element. This is not implementing both styles together, this is merely playing both in the same song; it would be like a smoothie company saying that their product contains both strawberries and bananas, only to get it and find they aren’t blended together but separate in a bag. The song ‘Arguing With Thermometers’ is a good example of this and how disjointed and confused it sounds rather than truly bringing the different styles together to full effect.
Despite this there are parts of songs that sound really good at times, some of the dance and drum and base parts are pretty catchy and work really well when they are not interrupted by a ill placed breakdown; for example ‘Stalemate’ has no real hint of hardcore whatsoever and is a considerably stronger song as a result. For me a bigger problem however is the vocals. Rou Reynolds is not the strongest clean singer by any stretch of the imagination and never seems to have been, but definitely fits in with the UK hardcore style, what is striking however is how weak his harsh vocals have become, sounding mostly very strained and at times even unintentionally comedic; they genuinely sound damaged rather than ferocious as perhaps expected. On the final track ‘Constellations’ he even sounds like Mike Skinner, if Skinner was struggling with his ‘vocals’ as well that is.
Speaking of comedic, for me the biggest downer of the album and a genuine irritation is the frequent inclusion of what must be ‘in-jokes’ to the band. During ‘Sssnakepit’ for example they are heard talking about Louis Armstrong, before finishing the song with what is simply a stupid finish of silly voices followed by laughing...you can have fun in the studio by any means I’m not that tight, but the inclusion of this is simply pointless and not inclusive. Similarly during ‘Gandhi Mate, Gandhi’ the song is interrupted by them telling each other to calm down and remember Gandhi...Why? Completely unnecessary.
It isn’t entirely bad however, there are some pretty decent moments here and there; ‘Search Party’ for example could be a great club floor-filler, and the drum and base parts in ‘Pack Of Thieves’ are particularly strong. But it is never great for long before something seems ill placed, needless or even just annoying. The political side of the band as well comes across as far too preachy at times. Rise Against is a perfect example of how a song can contain a political urgency and meaning, yet is not overpowered by it constantly if need be; here whenever politics comes up it is essentially shouting in your face to listen, like someone rudely yelling at you until you listen.
Despite this fans will undoubtedly snap this up and enjoy it, and they will become even bigger news this year. For essentially a newbie to this band however, A Flash Flood Of Colour is too often stumbling and for much of it simply annoying.
Listen To: Stalemate, Pack Of Thieves.