By making the opening of The Mindsweep a literal appeal to the listener (Which is even stated in the title of the first song, The Appeal & The Mindsweep I), the guys from Enter Shikari have clearly set the mood and intention behind this album within the first five minutes. There’s a message to be told here, one which they desperately want the world to hear. Luckily, the message just so happens to be set to a solid piece of musical work as well.
The Mindsweep is at its core an angry album about staying sane and vigilant in the modern world. Powerful lyrics are set to equally commanding compositions, and a large part of the album expresses this with aggressive rock and post-hardcore styles. The strength of the album, however, comes from the multitude of genres and styles featured here, with strings playing parts in the songs The One True Colour, Torn Apart and Dear Future Historians, and a mournful horn-laden instrumental acting as the interlude track. The Last Garrison almost delves into synth-pop in its chorus, and Never Let Go Of The Microscope features rapping throughout the majority of the song. In true Enter Shikari fashion, the album features a large variety of styles that all work together to its advantage.
The most powerful example on the album easily comes at the end, with the penultimate track Dear Future Historians driving the album’s point home harder with four minutes of stripped back piano and vocals than the rest of the album did with all guns blazing, before erupting into what might be the most powerful composition in the history of the group.
The problem with the remainder of the album is that the energy is so strong in both music and lyrics that it starts to wear thin at the halfway point. The strong points of variation act as a saving grace rather than a strengthening point, keeping the album from falling instead of making it rise to new heights.
It becomes a real balancing act, attempting to keep the overwhelming anger and angst from destroying the album. It’s one that manages to work thanks to the strength of songs like the epic Dear Future Historians and the initially mellow, later explosive The Bank Of England. Had the diversity and creativity not been here, the album wouldn’t have been as successful.
It’s to the merit of Enter Shikari that The Mindsweep manages to shine despite the risky concept behind it. Their continued desire to weave different influences through their music comes off as a real defining factor, and their willingness to get deep and political with their lyrics deserves praise. Despite some issues as the album reaches the middle section, it manages to get through it in the end. If their world view doesn’t get through to you with the lyrics, at least the album will still be a great listen.