Its unbelievable to think ten years have flown by but that's life. "Take To The Skies" is the unleashing of our local band Enter Shikari onto the world. Ive seen this band go from the school down the road to headlining festivals and this album is a personal one, loaded full of fond memories and strong emotions. It was a big event, we got to see some of their pivotal shows around that era including their Download performance of the same year in the big blue tent which was absolutely rammed and loaded with mosh pits.
It's no masterpiece but a personal triumph for fans of Enter Shikari, a band you can truly adore if they push your buttons. "Take To The Skies" had no surprises, the culmination of their best songs from years of utterly relentless touring are polished and fined tuned alongside three or so new tracks. Its all glossed up with album quality production and a reworking of the electronics to flesh out all their songs with which raving synth lines that bleed into the interludes lined between a handful of tracks.
In retrospect the lack of subtly on this record is a charm the band would grow with time to gleam upon. The raw fusion of Hardcore throw downs and rampant rave electronics is undeniable in the wake of their youthful energy and inspired charisma. Its never gotten old, the fantastic chemistry to create energetic, uplifting and fun music with a real backbone of feeling and lead them into explosions of aggression with grooving beat downs and guitar chugging breakouts that would always get a crowd moving. Seeing the path they have taken, it becomes apparent how simplistic some of the compositions are but Shikari pull it off with a stroke of inspiration that you cant criticize given its authenticity.
The albums flow is flawed, It gets of to a wild start with fan favorites and two new tracks then the interludes break up the flow and the second half unwinds at a different pace, leading to the fantastic "Adieu" with would showcase the genius to expect of this band leading forward. It ends with the explosive "Ok, Time For Plan B" after its infectious build up, a great choice to end on before the closing tracks echos of the albums opener. It gives the record somewhat of a compilation vibe given the attachment of knowing most the music before its release and I'm not sure if the interludes were an attempt to create a bigger picture with the record as a whole but I never felt it succeeded in doing that, if it was the intent.
Its the music that's wonderful and the years gone by make me realize how foundational they were as songwriters then. Singer Rou's screams and shouts are so fitting of the scene at that time and stylistically raw. The synths are accents of the tone, not woven in but aligning with the music and in many cases leading it. The beat downs are again atypical of the scene yet executed with an edge of creativity and always in the direction of the music, never rumbling out of nowhere and always feeling like an essential part of the music. Its truly fascinating and speaks volumes to the music these guys would write with their currently best record "The Mindsweep".
I adore this record and trying to be objective I wouldn't consider it a classic but on a personal level the nostalgia, adventure and fun of the time are deeply connected to the music and Shikari will always hold a special place for all the amazing memories. I think even back then we knew this band would be special forever to come. I little gutted now I missed the anniversary show this year but I will see them soon and forever be revisiting this wonderful record. On a final note I think its fitting to point out this record was an independent release on their own record label and their DIY ethic speaks volumes to the passion they have that you can hear running through this album.