The new album from rock/punk/electro/hardcore (take your pick) mavericks Enter Shikari has really caused sparks to fly. The album signals an unexpected, if not overly drastic, new direction for the band. After the release of the two singles from this album, ‘Live Outside’ and ‘Rabble Rouser’, the rest of the album could have gone in any direction. Whilst ‘Live Outside’ showcased rich harmonies and an uplifting chorus, ‘Rabble Rouser’ gave us heavier, more grime-orientated tune. This being said, both songs were certainly not as heavy as previous release Hoodwinker, but they were definitely still very Shikari.

The album is far more melodic and less meaty in terms of physical noise, but in emotional weight, The Spark packs a brutal punch. Tracks like the emotive ‘Airfield’ and ‘An Ode To Lost Jigsaw Pieces’ initially begin slow and calm, but crescendo into great roars that will easily blast the roofs off some of the largest venues Shikari have ever played this November. This crescendo seems a metaphor for the band’s new direction. The Spark, unlike previous albums, is much less an amalgam of political rage than a consolidation of those feelings into hope. The theme of this album is moving forward, finding solutions to problems rather than just railing against them. ‘Take My Country Back’ exemplifies this, and it is refreshing to still have Shikari’s trademark rawness, albeit presented in a different light.

A lot of old fans will dislike this more synth-centred turn the band has taken, but this certainly makes The Spark more accessible than previous albums. As such an important political voice on the alternative music scene, The Spark will help old and new fans alike make sense of these tumultuous times, as well as giving them some much-needed respite.

“When the wind’s against you just remember this insight / That’s the optimal condition for birds to take flight”