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Enter Shikari - The Spark album review

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

Cover art for Enter Shikari - The Spark album

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.

Philip Wilding is a novelist, journalist, scriptwriter, biographer and radio producer. As a young journalist he criss-crossed most of the United States with bands like Motley Crue, Kiss and Poison (think the Almost Famous movie but with more hairspray). More latterly, he’s sat down to chat with bands like the slightly more erudite Manic Street Preachers, Afghan Whigs, Rush and Marillion. He ghosted Carl Barat’s acclaimed autobiography, Threepenny Memoir, and helped launch the BBC 6 Music network as producer and co-presenter on the Phill Jupitus Breakfast Show. Five years later he and Jupitus fronted the hugely popular Perfect 10 podcast and live shows. His debut novel, Cross Country Murder Song, was described, variously, as ‘sophisticated and compelling’ and ‘like a worm inside my brain’. His latest novel The Death And Life Of Red Henley is out now.