Earlier this month, Enter Shikari revealed the infectious lead single off of The Spark, “Live Outside”. The track first aired on Annie Mac’s Radio 1 Show as her ‘Hottest Record’ and has already been streamed over 300,000 times on Spotify. The video for the track, which has already been viewed over 500K times, is available to watch HERE.
The Spark is an ambitious, inspiring piece of work that poignantly reflects Enter Shikari’s legendary rise to becoming one of the biggest and most exciting bands the UK has ever seen. Following 4 seminal albums, of which 3 have been Top 10, The Spark is produced by David Kosten (Everything Everything, Bat For Lashes), and is Shikari’s most melodic and personal album to date; a soundtrack to our tumultuous world, a record for everyone who’s filled with frustration but hasn’t lost the capacity for hope.
As Shikari stared down the barrel of album five, lead vocalist Rou Reynolds had no idea what to write about, but for the first time going into a record, he knew what the music called for. With The Spark, his intentions were clear: simplicity, melody, songcraft. “Not dampening the variety, but trying to write the best songs instead of trying to be the heaviest, the most technical, the most emotional.”
“I wanna prove myself as a songwriter,” Rou continues. He’d always thought maximum volume equaled maximum passion, but an odd revelation last year taught him otherwise. “I’d always been a Bowie fan, but his death made me put time into his back catalogue. I did a Bowie-oke party, bought this cheap software and got a free trial for a week, and I found myself using it home alone. I learnt so much.” Bowie gave Rou the confidence to start singing in a lower register, as did further karaoke experimentations with Sinatra and Johnny Cash. Joy Divison and Depeche Mode also lead him to identify as a singer for the first time in Shikari’s 18-year history, and he toned down the screaming to make his message clearer. “I was always the guitarist that fell into being the frontman,” says Rou. “And there’s all sorts of anxieties to being a frontman. I’d never had any training as a singer, and it’s only in the last few years that I’ve got this new confidence, so I wanted to increase my range – a lot more falsetto, a lot more baritone.”
This newfound emotional and musical clarity set the stage for an unprecedented Enter Shikari album, rounded off by Rou’s stunningly lucid lyrics. “When I realized that a lot of stuff in my personal life was seemingly echoing the turmoil going on the world, socially and politically, a general theme started to emerge of adversity and hope.” A quote from Shakespeare’s As You Like It served as a guiding light: Sweet are the uses of adversity. Rou continues: “Learning, growing, coming through things. It’s such a basic thing for art to talk about – seeing the light at the end of the tunnel – but finding that meaning really helped.”
The Spark is now available to pre-order HERE.
Photo Credit: Jennifer McCord