A Flash Flood of Colour
|A Flash Flood of Colour|
|Studio album by Enter Shikari|
|Released||16 January 2012|
|Recorded||May–June 2011 at Karma Sound Studios, Bang Saray, Thailand; The Fortress, London, UK|
|Label||Ambush Reality, Hopeless, PIAS Recordings|
|Producer||Dan Weller, Enter Shikari|
|Enter Shikari chronology|
|Singles from A Flash Flood of Colour|
A Flash Flood of Colour is the third studio album by the English rock band Enter Shikari. Produced by Dan Weller. The album was recorded throughout May and June 2011 at Karma Sound Studios in Bang Saray, Thailand. The album was released internationally on 16 January 2012 through Ambush Reality, the band's own record label in United Kingdom and Hopeless Records in North America. The album is a follow up to the band's second album Common Dreads.
The album lyrically deals with current affairs, primarily the Great Recession. Confronting issues like the flaws in government actions to end the global recession, whilst also touching on the political situation in Israel and climate change. This album showed the band continuing to fuse influences from electronic music and rock music. The album's cover is an inverted depiction of Social hierarchy.
Upon its release, the album was given generally positive reviews from music critics, being given an average metacritic score of 75 out of 100. The album debuted at number four on the UK Albums Chart, after a campaign led by the band to get the album to achieve number one. The album appeared on several end of year lists for album of the year. In promotion of A Flash Flood of Colour's release Enter Shikari embarked on a concert tour known as the A Flash Flood of Colour World Tour.
Background and recording
The band had taken a different lyrical direction with the release of their 2009 album Common Dreads which focused on financial meltdown, economic collapse and widespread discontent. Interviews over the years have revealed how lyricist, composer and singer Rou Reynolds talks about his political views when journalist ask. Some journalists, like Ian Winwood have credited the band's lyrical direction as a reaction to how politics has evolved since the released of their 2007 debut album Take to the Skies as there is now "ongoing Orwellian overseas conflicts, riots in England's major cities, endless austerity programmes the end date of which stretch years into the distance". The change in lyrics started with Reynolds believing that music is a great way of getting political ideas across, and believing people are more susceptible to your message through music.
The record was produced by former-SikTh guitarist Dan Weller, who helped with the production of the guitars on the band's previous album Common Dreads, and sound engineer Tim Morris. The band recorded the album in a two-month period throughout May and June 2011 in Karma Sound Studios in Bang Saray, Thailand. The recording of the album started in Weller's Old Street London based recording studio where they started the initial ideas. Weller then informed the band of how he had a friend who owned a Thailand based recording studio, it then became a running joke within the band of them all leaving England to record the album in Thailand. Eventually, the band eventually decided that it was financially cheaper to record at Karma Sound due to the offer the studio presented, easier to navigate as opposed to the busy areas of London and a far better environment to concentrate. The Thailand based recording studio which they recorded their album in, whom drummer Rob Rolfe described as "four walls in a little compound in the middle of the jungle" located an hour and a half drive south of Bangkok summarised it as a "fantastic studio in paradise". Because the band didn't write and lyrics the band recorded the album's music before adding in the vocals, this was because Reynolds knew what themes the album would be dealing with and how it would be "uniting and empowering". It was then mixed in Vancouver by Mike Fraser.
Within the first 10 days of the album's recording, the most complete songs were that of the album's most aggressive, in particular the tentatively titled 'Tyrannosaurus' (later known as 'Hello Tyrannosaurus, Meet Tyrannicide'). During it's production the album went through several alterations, for instance, 'Stalemate' was intended as an acoustic introduction to the record, with 'System Meltdown' intended as a single song. The album's recording was finished within a month.
Style and themes
A Flash Flood of Colour is noted for its diverse sound rooted in its fusion of various sub-genres from electronic music, rock music, rap and hardcore punk. Their music is diverse and is considered to "contain at least two or three different genres within each track" by specifically fuses elements of other styles into post-hardcore and metal such as dubstep, drum and bass, industrial, techno, trance, electro, British hip hop, grime and metalcore. The band's musical style is defined by their incorporation of breakdowns, heavy metal and hardcore punk influenced instrumentation, dub-inspired 'wobbles', anthemic choruses, drum and bass tempos and a contrast between rapped and screamed vocals. The album is also seen as resembling progressive rock "with [its] rapidly fluctuating patterns that introduce new arrangements even before you've had time to get your head around the current one". Some journalists have cited how the rise in popularity of Skrillex during the bands career helped bring dubstep to mainstream popularity, and in turn aided the popularity of Enter Shikari's crossover style.
The attitude on A Flash Flood of Colour is seen as politically progressive, dealing with current affairs and environmental issues and taking aim "at the failings of capitalism, the hypocrisy of modern politics and the blatant disregard of human health and happiness" and is compared to the calculated approach of the occupy movement rather than ensuing class conflict. But despite having strong political incentive behind the album, Reynolds stresses that the album isn't actually politically motivated. "This album is anti-politics. We say that politics is an outdated system. It is time that we embrace technological developments and no longer have to rely on a rule. Our lives should develop according to scientific findings." Reynolds has also described the main recurring theme of the album as "perspective" saying that the album tries to take every thing into account as "we're not trying to think subjectively." The journalism of The Real News Network, Democracy Now! and journalist John Pilger are all cited as influcences on Reynolds politics.
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The album opens with the trance led, long spoken word introduction of 'System...' which features synthesised string instruments, a "battle cry" style build up to the song and a track which uses metaphors to outline the lyrical themes on the album by metaphorically comparing Britain's economic situation to an eroded cliff-top house. The next track '...Meltdown' opens with a dubstep influenced-breakdown. Both songs are seen as "surfing a plateau musically" highlighting the musical diversity featured in the album, and both act as a "paean to internationalist idealism".
'Ssssnakepit' mixes jungle music 'fury', thrash metal guitar riffing, utilises an electro interlude and a catchy chorus and is said by Reynolds to be influenced by drum and bass and hardcore punk. Ryan Cooper of About.com describes the song as "raw hardcore power, dropping it on a foundation of beats that are positively anthemic, with aggressive guitars that sometimes sludge it up, and anthemic choruses". 'Ssssnakepit' focuses on a party atmosphere rather than socio-political lyrics, Renyolds commenting on the writing saying: "It’s hard to write positive songs with everything going on in the world, but this track is basically one full-on party—it's about cherishing your friendships and living compassionately."
'Arguing with Thermometers' title specifically references to people who deny climate change. The song 'Stalemate' is a ballad focused on war profiteering, specifically condemning Israeli use of phosphorus in Palestine and how these kinds of wars 'make trillionaires out of bilionaires' The song uses a combination of acoustic guitar, vocal harmonies and 'rock drumming' which produces a 'radio-friendly hook'.
The ninth track on the album 'Pack Of Thieves' was written to convey positivity and determination through the music and lyrics.
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'Gandhi Mate, Gandhi', a song with a "furious, anarchist edge" focuses on drawing a distinction between social and economic stability and reflects on how they are not relatable and summarises the current capitalist system as "a long outdated system... that does nothing but divide and segregate us". The song has been seen as being like a speech for the Occupy London movement. Reynolds commented on the it being a "very frustrated and confused song" and that is reflects the current Zeitgeist attitude. "people know we have the resources, the creativity, and the ingenuity to do better than what we have at the moment and are struggling to come to terms with the short term love of money over the long-term stability and progression of our species." The song focus on a dual character perspectives it uses both Rou's vocals highlighting revolutionary perspective with Liam Clewlow playing the role of someone in power. Gandhi mate, Gandhi incorporates unconventional lyrics for the flow of the characters; "Yabba Dabba do one, son" which Reynolds describes as a product of a drunken MC battle and during the song the other band members pause the song for a few seconds and urge Reynolds to calm down. 'Gandhi mate, Gandhi' has been described by Reynolds as a "lively electro influenced dubstep" and is seen as a "rap rock pileup" which is textured over "wobbly dubstep bass".
'Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here' is seen as interoperating a stadium rock sound into their typical style. 'Hello Tyrannosaurus, Meet Tyrannicide' was described by Reynolds as a critique of certain democracies as "polite dictatorships", with specific reference to countries within the Arab Spring movement. The album closes with 'Constellations', a majestic musical compositions, that's seen as a "rallying call about the future of the human race". Much like 'System...' the song uses a 'swirling' string quartet, however the song has a strong anthematic feeling with a post-rock inspired sound.
Cover and packaging
The title A Flash Flood of Colour is seen as a description of the music found on the album, Reynolds highlights how the album is a colourful blend of different music genres and styles and how the album's cover and title's vibrancy is apt to that. Reynolds also describes how the band wanted to have a title which had a "big sound" but was also positive and forward thinking, the title is derived from the lyrics in the song Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here.
The album art is a reversal of the society's hierarchical structure based on Social stratification; the grouping of people based on socio-economic background. The album art was initially pitched to Enter Shikari as a set design for their live shows, but they then started to believe that it would be a 'solid symbol' for the album cover. Guitarist Liam Clewlow described the cover art by saying "our society is often depicted as a pyramid, with the few at the top with all the wealth and the masses at the bottom with no wealth, but supporting the pyramid for the few at the top. Our upside down triangle represents this system being flipped on head."
Release and promotion
The band released two non-album singles in prior to A Flash Flood of Colour's announcement: 'Destabilise' and 'Quelle Surprise'. "Quelle Surprise" which was released 19 May 2011 was initially meant to be the first single from the new album, however, it was later decided that it would stay as a stand-alone track like "Destabilise". Both non-album singles were included as bonus tracks on selected versions of A Flash Flood of Colour.
The first single off the album, 'Sssnakepit', was released on 20 September 2011. On 5 December 2011, the band revealed the song 'Gandhi Mate, Gandhi' as a preview to the album's release on their Facebook page and also on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show. On 5 January 2012 the band released the studio version of 'Arguing with Thermometers' on their YouTube page. It was also played on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show in the morning as his "Hottest Record in the World". On the 4 January 2013 the band released an animated music video for 'Hello Tyrannosaurus, Meet Tyrannicide' on their YouTube page.
Upon its release, A Flash Flood of Colour was the only other new entry in United Kingdom's top 20 mainstream album chart, the other being from Tribes with their début Baby. In the first week of A Flash Flood of Colour's release in the United Kingdom it reached number 1 half-way through the week with over 2,500 copies bought, rivalling Adele, Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran. With the announcement of the mid week charts Rou Reynolds posted on the Enter Shikari's website in a blog post calling this a victory for "independent music, for socially conscious music and for alternative music." However, the album lost to 21, + and Mylo Xyloto respectively. As well as this it also charted at number 1 on the UK Rock Chart and number 2 on the UK independent album charts.
Tour and performances
As a "first big test" Enter Shikari marked Australian Soundwave festival to début a lot of new material 'A Flash Flood on Colour'. The band was proud and relieved by the positive reaction to the new music.
When Enter Shikari was touring around the release of A Flash Flood of Colour the band distributed leaflets featuring in-depth interviews with the bands playing about questions they aren't typically asked during interviews. The band did this to help concert goers get to know message. On 12 February 2012, the band played a low key and fast selling show at The Bull and Gate, a small pub in Kentish Town for the purpose to be filmed exclusively for Scuzz. The show aired on 31 March 2012 at 5pm. The show was filmed and edited by Stand Your Ground Media. The band played 3 intimate shows in the UK to celebrate the release of A Flash Flood of Colour: The album's release date 16 January 2012, The Borderline in London; 17 January 2012, The Hippodrome in Kingston; 18 January 2012, The Cockpit in Leeds. Sponsorship for the events came from HMV, Banquet Records, Jumbo Records and Crash Records where pre orders through these sources got tickets at the shows.
After the release of the album the band engaged in a world tour which intensely toured around Europe, North America and Australasia. The band's touring schedule expanded rapidly across the United States as did their confidence. For instance, the band only toured with two-three band bills with the intention of performing much longer sets than before. In 2012 the band for the first time was confident enough to take production and lighting to the United States.
|Drowned In Sound||(5/10)|
A Flash Flood of Colour received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 75, based on 13 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews". Drew Beringer of AbsolutePunk praised the album in an 8 out of 10 review saying: "The quartet has a much bigger goal than just getting kids to dance to their breakdowns, rather they focus on putting a lot of substance into each track, hoping to inspire this generation to take a stand and make change amongst the broken systems throughout the world". About.com writer Ryan Cooper gave the album a glowing 5 our of 5 star review, praising in musical and lyrical content ending his review by saying "if the bands are any indication, the next politically focused youth movement will come from the UK and from this new-fangled dubstep, and not from the land of kids bopping along to crunkcore".
Ian Winwood, when writing for British publication Kerrang! gave the album four out of five 'K's, indicating an "excellent" review. Winwood commented on how the music is far more upbeat than the serious message they convey by saying "this 11-song set is a good deal of fun to listen to, even if its lyrics' subject matters are the exact opposite." Winwood when also writing a review for BBC Music gave the album a favourable review comparing its lyrics to the album Punk & Poetry by The King Blues and saying that they [Enter Shikari] are "the only other mainstream-breaching British rock band concerning itself with the news of the world". Johnny Firecloud, a writer for CraveOnline, gave the album 8 out of 10 saying that "Enter Shikari have found a balance while honing a voice of rebellion – at a time where tearing down boundaries and microanalyzing the current structure is more vital and valuable than ever before in our lives." Iain Moffat of The Fly magazine briefly described the album by saying "Disenchantment should always be this spellbinding." NME writer Dan Martin gave the album a score of eight out of ten summarising it by saying"all of that surface tension lands Enter Shikari in a pretty powerful position for their third – and, as the title promises fabulously, they respond to the challenge in explosive style to deliver something like their defining statement." Rocksound writer Ryan Bird gave the album a nine out of ten score, praising the band for their development emotionally, culturally and sonically. He also praised the importance of their message saying that "in a world edging ever closer to complete and utter destruction, Enter Shikari remain fearless and uncompromising leaders in a field of one."
However not all reviews positively saw the album. Jon O'Brien of Allmusic gave the album a three out of five stars critically pointing out how the albums "rebellious stance rarely transcends "Beginners Guide to Politics" territory" and considered the music as a "hyperactive Wall of Sound". He summarised album by saying "a demanding and often exhausting listen, [however] it's a call to arms which the flagging U.K. guitar band scene could do with more of." John Calvert of Drowned In Sound was very critical of the album in his five out of ten review giving their sound a derogatory term of "sports metal" and noting a decline in their sound as "Forward rewind to 2011 and it's all Nero-grade dubstep, amateurish drum'n'bass and mid-twenties pot bellies."
|Alternative Press||USA||AP's 10 Essential albums of 2012||2014||2|
|Dead Press||UK||Top 10 Albums Of The Year||2014||9|
|Kerrang!||UK||The Ultimate Rock Review||2014||1|
|Ourzone Magazine||UK||Albums of the Year 2012||2014||3|
|Rock Sound||UK||Top 50 Albums of the year||2014||15|
|NME||UK||NME's 50 Best Albums of 2012||2014||37|
All songs written and composed by Enter Shikari.
|5.||"Arguing With Thermometers"||3:22|
|7.||"Gandhi Mate, Gandhi"||4:26|
|8.||"Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here"||4:36|
|9.||"Pack of Thieves"||3:58|
|10.||"Hello Tyrannosaurus, Meet Tyrannicide"||3:44|
|UK and Ireland iTunes deluxe edition|
|14.||"Quelle Surprise" (Rout VIP Mix)||5:19|
|15.||"Intro/Destabilise" (Live from The Electric Ballroom Oct 2011)||6:17|
|16.||"Sssnakepit" (Live from The Electric Ballroom Oct 2011)||3:33|
|17.||"Quelle Surprise" (Live from The Electric Ballroom Oct 2011)||7:23|
|18.||"OK, Time For Plan B" (Live from The Electric Ballroom Oct 2011)||5:11|
|US iTunes deluxe edition|
|12.||"Sssnakepit" (Hamilton Remix)||4:52|
|13.||"Sssnakepit" (Serial Killaz Remix)||5:31|
|14.||"Quelle Surprise" (music video)||4:34|
|14.||"Intro/Destabilise" (Live from The Electric Ballroom Oct 2011)||6:16|
|15.||"Sssnakepit" (Live from The Electric Ballroom Oct 2011)||3:31|
|16.||"Quelle Surprise" (Live from The Electric Ballroom Oct 2011)||7:13|
|17.||"Ok, Time for Plan B" (Live from The Electric Ballroom Oct 2011)||5:10|
|18.||"System / Meltdown" (Live from the Hammersmith Apollo)||7:07|
|19.||"The Feast" (Live from the Hammersmith Apollo)||4:17|
|20.||"Gandhi Mate, Gandhi" (Live from the Hammersmith Apollo)||5:11|
|21.||"Quelle Surprise" (Live from the Hammersmith Apollo)||7:03|
|22.||"Hello Tyrannosaurus, Meet Tyrannicide" (Live from the Hammersmith Apollo)||5:48|
|23.||"Stalemate" (Live from the Hammersmith Apollo)||4:49|
|24.||"Enter Shikari" (Live from the Hammersmith Apollo)||6:14|
|25.||"Return to Energiser" (Live from the Hammersmith Apollo)||8:38|
|26.||"Sssnakepit" (Live from the Hammersmith Apollo)||5:52|
|27.||"Destabilise" (Rout Remix)||5:28|
|28.||"Quelle Surprise" (Rout Remix)||5:19|
|29.||"Sssnakepit" (Hamilton Remix)||4:51|
|30.||"Sssnakepit" (Serial Killaz Remix)||5:30|
|31.||"Sssnakepit" (Rout Remix)||4:31|
|32.||"Arguing With Thermometers" (Calvertron Remix)||4:01|
|33.||"Arguing With Thermometers" (Goth-Trad Remix)||5:05|
|34.||"Arguing With Thermometers" (Taz Buckfaster Remix)||4:49|
|35.||"Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here" (Mosquito Remix)||4:49|
|36.||"Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here" (Tek-One Remix)||3:46|
|37.||"Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here" (Azura Dub)||4:03|
|38.||"Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here" (Tyler Mae Remix)||6:48|
|39.||"Warm Smiles Do Not Make You Welcome Here" (Alex Light Remix)||3:41|
|40.||"Pack of Thieves" (Rory C Mix)||6:56|
|41.||"Pack of Thieves" (Sgt. Rolfy's Bell End Remix)||4:57|
- Enter Shikari
- Roughton "Rou" Reynolds – lead vocals, electronics, acoustic guitar, celesta, piano, brass and string arrangements, lyrics
- Liam "Rory" Clewlow – guitar, backing vocals, co-lead vocals on "Sssnakepit"
- Chris Batten – bass, backing vocals, co-lead vocals on "...Meltdown"
- Rob Rolfe – drums, percussion, backing vocals
- Additional personnel
|Australian Albums Chart||32|
|Austrian Albums Chart||35|
|Belgian Albums Chart (Vl)||42|
|Canadian Albums Chart||75|
|Dutch Albums Chart||74|
|Irish Albums Chart||69|
|UK Albums Chart||4|
|UK Indie Chart||2|
|UK Rock Chart||1|
|US Billboard 200||67|
|US Hard Rock Albums||5|
|US Independent Albums||8|
|US Rock Albums||19|
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- Kelham 2012, p. 33.
- Knapper 2012, p. 24.
- Knapper 2012, p. 25.
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- "ALBUM LAUNCH SHOW/PARTY WITH HMV". Enter Shikari. 25 October 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- Colwell 2012, p. 2.
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