I wanna burn through the atmosphere
May 21, 2020 7:23 AM   Subscribe

Enter Shikari's "live" online-collab performance of satellites* * from their new album Nothing is True & Everything is Possible [YouTube playlist].

I wish I was a comet
Burning up into the night
I wish I was a comet
But I’m just a satellite

I don’t like the limelight
So we don’t hold hands in daylight
I still drag the closet
All my limbs, they ache inside

And surely all my family and my friends,
My god and my ends
They cannot all be wrong
So I play along:

We refrain from touch
We are satellites
In a cosmic dance
Amongst the northern lights

And we orbit fast
But I wish we could collide
I’m sick of concealing
I’m sick of the feeling
I no longer want to hide

‘Cos I think it could be love
But I can’t show you enough
I wanna burn through the atmosphere
Soar like a meteor tonight

All the gravity between us
Someone bring me down to land
And write a prayer to Venus
What is life without affection

Now online they discuss
Whether I exist
And in the court they decide
Who I can kiss
Written & recorded before the Now, Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible is an incredibly relevant and prescient album and it is probably worthy of its own post but I just haven't had it in me to make it. This is probably the best I can manage.

The cat's name is Freya.

* * There is no footnote. That's just the way the song is named.
posted by glonous keming (4 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Presumably the album title is a reference to Peter Pomerantsev's (terrifying) book of the same name? Cool.
posted by ropeladder at 4:58 PM on May 21, 2020

ropeladder, that's correct, although I can't find the interview where I read that I'm certain that is the case.
posted by glonous keming at 6:05 PM on May 21, 2020

☑️ added that one to my list

I really only listen to a couple of their songs and don't know their music very well. Any advice for Getting Into Enter Shikari?
posted by meemzi at 4:04 PM on May 22, 2020

The latest album, henceforth referred to as NIT&EIP, is their 6th studio LP. I will run down their LP offerings in reverse chronological order.

Like many rock-adjacent bands that have been together for a while, the farther back you go, in general, the harder and heavier they tend to be. Humans being humans, this of course leads to a frequent complaint from old fans in forums about how they've gone soft and pop, but for me nearly every tune they've ever put out is wonderful on some level, and to pin down the Enter Shikari sound can be like trying to hit a moving target. Every album has its own distinct feel, while still being Enter Shikari. Common themes through their existence include capitalism, climate change, solidarity, racism, and occasionally space exploration positioned as a long-term unifying goal that can help us to free ourselves from the "-isms" that shackle us to Earth and the old ways.

NIT&EIP is at times a warm-fuzzy-sounding pop record and at others an acerbic assassination of the modern era. The band has said that with it they set out to create the "most definitive Shikari record to date [...] the one that a fan would pass to their mate like, 'You don’t know Shikari? This is where you start." satellites* *, which I've linked here, is the most up-tempo of the album and also one of the more positive. On the opposite end of that are tracks like Waltzing Off the Face of the Earth (I. Crescendo), which is, in fact, done in a waltz tempo, and eviscerates the up-is-down newspeak global propaganda system that has risen to power in recent years. There's an entirely orchestral piece called Elegy For Extinction, which musically attempts to plot the track of the development of life on Earth from its emergence up through the anthropocentric extinctions that we are currently affecting. I could write little essays about every song on the new album but I'll spare you that and just say it is certainly very interesting and there is a lot of variety on tone and message on the new album, perhaps so much that, as a whole, it suffers a bit in flow, but maybe that was also intentional, as a mirror for the humingbird-like attention spans we find ourselves dealing with in a society of globally-connected mass social media. Also, the album has some proper bangers in Dreamer's Hotel and T.I.N.A.

Their 5th album is called The Spark and released in 2017. It is, in general, less political and ideologically driven that their usual fair up until this point, focusing more on the personal and emotional ups and downs a person has to face in a lived life. It has a polished, sometimes glossy sound, and is the most "radio friendly" album as a whole they've ever done. The Spark is the most intimate and personally revealing, being written in the throes of the stress and anxiety disorders following events such as the Brexit referendum and the election of Trump.

Album #4 is called The Mindsweep, from 2015, and has a lot of gritty, heavier sounds, with a wider theme of trying to wake people up from the old ways of thinking that have brought us such pain and suffering. The opening track calls on us to wrench our minds out of stone like Arthur's sword. There's also a drum&bass remix album of this entire album called The Mindsweep: Hospitalised with remixes done by artists from the Hospital Records label.

A Flash Flood of Colour was their third LP, from 2012. Thematically, as is common for Shikari, there are a lot of tunes that seem to be saying "Hey, this global capitalism/imperialism/nationalism thing isn't working too great. We should get together and try to come up with some better ideas." The first two tracks, called System... and ...Meltdown make for an amazing opener. In System... the lyricist, Rou Reynolds, lays out allegory for the current global systems as a house on the edge of a cliff that is held aloft by the corroding scaffolding of patch-work laws and band-aid legislation, before shifting to a reminiscence of childhood games where the desire was to roleplay as heroes, solving the problems of those in need until the burdens and pressures of adulthood in our societies serve to crush altruistic instincts... witch then segues strait into ...Meltdown which comes as a hard, fast, heavy call for unity that's constructed as a complex hybrid of guitar-laden hardcore, dubstep, & neurofunk-inspired music. If I ever have just one Enter Shikari song to play for a person, I select System... ...Meltdown and don't tell them it's actually 2 tracks.

My personal favorite album is their 2nd, Common Dreads from 2009. Released in the thick of the financial crisis, this albums is where they really start to come unto their own with regard to analyzing and criticizing the global economic and political systems. The first 5 tracks make up my most beloved contiguous selections of any album ever, each song coming fast and furious as they run through (as in touch upon) and run through (as in skewer) the failing systems that divide us against one another, enable the hoarding of wealth, and protect the status quo. Calls for unity and solidarity abound amidst a frenetic melding of post-hardcore rock, angry screaming, gang vocals, and electronic synths. There's rarely a chance for a breather throughout the album.

The debut album, from 2007, is aptly named Take To The Skies and contains some of the most raw and unpolished sounds. Made up in large part of re-recorded demos and singles of their initial EPs and staples of early live shows, Rou Reynolds has said his biggest career regret was giving in to the pressure of the timing to record this album, as he had been recovering from illness and forced himself to sing and scream tunes when he wasn't at his best. The subject matter overall is less focused than their later efforts, but one can see shades of their future material and topics in these tracks, sitting side by side with tunes ultimately admitted to being just a bunch of phrases, relatively meaningless, that sounded cool at the time being screamed into a mic.

All that being said, if one wants to begin exploring Enter Shikari's oeuvre, I generally recommend to start at the newest stuff and work your way backwards chronologically. If you find yourself loving a lot of their more recent work, then you might end up liking all of it to some degree, but generally the more recent stuff is more accessible and less sonically challenging to a newcomer. They also have always released one-off singles of really great tunes between albums, that for whatever reason just didn't fit their vision at the time when assembling the album tracklists. Some of my favorites come from these albumless singles, such as Radiate and Redshift.

In case it's not blindingly obvious, Enter Shikari is my favorite band of all time that's still active and making music. This comment turned out being a substantial portion of the FPP I thought I might one day make but never have. I could have put links in here but if you find it interesting almost everything they have done is on YouTube in one form or another such that you can taste it and decide if you want to dig deeper.

I hope a few of you are able to find something you like and get into some new music to inspire and motivate. The one overarching message that Enter Shikari wants to convey is this: We are all in this together.
posted by glonous keming at 7:28 PM on May 22, 2020

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