Sound — 8
Shikari are back! And this time they've got a message to put out. Having the songs written around a half a mile from me (Shikari are from my home town) I've followed this album as its progressed, and I have mixed feelings about its result. Clearly, what has been such a basis for Shikari's success was its cross-genre, hybrid mix of Club/Trance with Heavy Rock. Apart from a couple of tunes sadly, I feel this vibe has been a lost a little, as Shikari sell themselves out to the currently more popular form of Dubstep. However, the St. Albans Mob pull off this mix well. The album blasts straight into Solidarity, which for me, is the standout track of the album by far. The song has it all, trance riffs, heavy breakdowns, a dubstep pattern and a choir chorus to finish off the tune. The only thing that will frustrate a lot of fans, and this has been well documented, is that Shikari do not deny this to be a highly political album. Shikari are known for their energetic, fun and care-free live shows where they border on complete insanity, but this is an image lost for a more serious political message. This will inevitably lose them a lot of fans I feel.
Lyrics — 8
Again, politics take a huge forefront in the lyrical make-up of Shikari's new album (We Must Unite, The idea of community, will be something displayed in a museum). That being said, singing political lyrics over dubstep basslines is not something that's been done before, and in the relevant tracks they pull it off very well. Rou's voice will hardly inspire you to take up singing any time soon, but one of the big differences I've noticed on this album is the improvement of Bassist Chris Batten's vocals. Chris plays a huge role live vocally, and its only fair that he has a larger inclusion in this album. Listen out for Batten in Hectic and 2nd Single Juggernauts.
Overall Impression — 7
In such a difficult year for music, and such a difficult economic climate, I'm not entirely sure how well this risky piece of art will be received by fans. I respect Shikari for taking the risk but only time will tell successful it will become. Compared to albums of the last month, I would definitely prefer to listen to Taking Back Sunday's New Again or The Blackou's The Best in Town. Standout tracks have to be Common Dreads (Intro) / Solidarity, Hectic and Wall, as well as singles Juggernauts, Antwerpen and No Sleep Tonight. The rest of the tracks aren't really worth much of a listen I'm afraid. If the album were stolen I would not purchase it again.