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 rivenwith 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.