Personnel: Rou Reynolds (vocals, guitar, trumpet, piano, keyboards, programming); Rory Clewlow (vocals, guitar); Chris Batten (vocals, organ); Will Harvey (violin); Augusta Harris (cello); David Kosten (keyboards, programming); Rob Rolfe (drums, percussion); Ben Gibson, Lee Jeffrey, Nathan Harlow, Leo Taylor , Lee Burgess, Danny Price, Ian Drayner, Jonathan Kogan, Pip Newby, Matt Knowles, William Tallis, Nathan Killham, Daniel Griffin, Alex Cribbs, Corinne Cumming, Eman Kwenortey, George Rockett, Fraser Woodhouse, Hollie Robinson, Jack Goodwin , James Power , Jamie Whymark, Julz Baldwin, Matt Pendell, Patrick O'Hanlon, Zac Houili, Zoe London, Clementyne Lavender, Arun Chamba, Adam Holdsworth (background vocals).
The follow-up to 2015's Mindsweep, The Spark will likely divide fans who skew toward the English rockers' post-hardcore tendencies, as it boasts their most commercial-sounding set of songs to date. A nervy amalgam of the Streets, the Futureheads, Passion Pit, Everything Everything, Against Me!, and Bring Me the Horizon, Enter Shikari have delivered an album that bristles with the myriad tensions of 2017, from Brexit to Trump and everything in between, with mixed results. Opening on a hopeful note with the anthemic "The Sights," The Spark begins to distill its discontent on the propulsive "Live Outside," a jerky panic attack of a track with a road trip-ready earworm chorus, and again on "Take My Country Back," which is a little too on the nose. Both cuts are indicative of what follows, which is a largely radio-friendly amalgam of electropop, grime, and dance-rock that's been run through the emo filter. If that formula sounds compelling, then there's a lot to love here, especially on some of the more idiosyncratic offerings like "Airfield" and "Shinrin-yoku," but listeners expecting to bloody themselves in the electronicore, stadium-screamo assault of past outings might want to take a pass. ~ James Christopher Monger
NME (Magazine) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Reynolds honed in on his personal political anguish for Shikari's fifth album. And it's a focus that's helped the record become, potentially, their Biffy Clyro-style crossover classic."
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