The Enemy (UK rock band)

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The Enemy
The Enemy Elland Road.jpg
The Enemy live at Wembley Stadium in July 2009
Background information
OriginCoventry, West Midlands, England
Years active2006–2016
LabelsCooking Vinyl
Stiff Records (UK)
eOne Music
VAM Records.[1]
Past membersTom Clarke
Andy Hopkins
Liam Watts

The Enemy (The Enemy UK in the United States) were an English indie rock band formed in Coventry in 2006. The band's debut album We'll Live and Die in These Towns (2007) went straight to Number 1 in the UK Albums Chart on release. Their second album Music for the People (2008) went to Number 2 on the UK Albums Chart. Streets in the Sky, their third studio album, was released on 21 May 2012 and was also their third UK top 10 album. Their fourth studio album, It's Automatic, was released on 9 October 2015. Despite early success in the charts, all their albums were met with mixed to negative reviews, with Streets in the Sky being considered by many critics as one of the worst albums of 2012.

The band are on indefinite hiatus as of 2016.


Formation and early recordings (2006–07)[edit]

Bass player Andy Hopkins and drummer Liam Watts originate from Coventry, while frontman and multi-instrumentalist Tom Clarke is originally from Birmingham, later moving to Coventry. Clarke attended Finham Park Secondary School in the city during his teenage years, with Hopkins attending Heart of England School in nearby Balsall Common, while Watts studied at the city's Cardinal Newman secondary school.

The Enemy met their original manager, John Dawkins, because Watts' aunt worked with one of Dawkins' family members. Dawkins asked producer Matt Terry to do him a favour and give the band cheap studio time. Terry then produced their first set of three songs: 'Heart Attack', 'Had Enough' and '40 Days and 40 Nights'. Dawkins then forwarded the demos to David Bianchi at A&R Warner.

In 2006 the band were the opening act at Coventry's Godiva Festival, an event they would play for the next 2 years, making their way to the headline slot.

Their biggest influence was The Sway, a Liverpool band

We'll Live and Die in These Towns (2007–08)[edit]

They first gained acclaim when they were mentioned in NME as the act most likely to "break your windows" for 2007. They supported Oasis, The Fratellis, Kasabian, The Paddingtons, Ash, Manic Street Preachers, Rolling Stones and Stereophonics on their UK tours.[2]

In June 2007, The Enemy played twice at Glastonbury Festival, first in the 'Guardian Lounge' on Saturday and then the much larger 'Other Stage' on Sunday. They also headlined on the Saturday night of T in the Park in the 'Futures' tent on 7 July 2007.

Their single, "Away From Here" entered the charts at number 8 and its follow-up "Had Enough" entered the charts at number 4. Building on their rapid exposure, The Enemy appeared on the NME 2007 Rock 'N' Roll Riot Tour during September and October 2007 along with Lethal Bizzle and The Wombats as well as the Jersey Live Festival. They also supported The Rolling Stones on the last night of their European tour at the O2 Arena.

In September 2007, Alex Zane, presenter of the Xfm Breakfast Show broadcast a statement declaring that the band would not be played on his show again. After playing their single "You're Not Alone" for seven seconds, he reasoned that altercations between himself and the band over a television interview meant that they would no longer be played by him.[3][4] However, during the Xfm Review of 2008, the presenters Sunta Templeton and Matt Dyson commented on the band and Zane making up.

A musical[5] - also titled "We'll Live and Die in These Towns" - featuring and based on the songs from the album, ran in The Belgrade Theatre Coventry[6] from September 29 2018 to October 20 2018. Tom Clarke was the musical director of the project.

Music for the People (2008–2009)[edit]

March 2008 saw the band start production on their second album and playing six nights in a row at the London Astoria. In April 2008 the band played at Coventry's Ricoh Arena, selling out two nights. The next month they supported Kaiser Chiefs at Elland Road Stadium. They then headlined the Godiva Festival on 5 July 2008, a 30,000 capacity free gig in Coventry's War Memorial Park. They played Reading & Leeds Festivals on the main stage in August.

Along with Kasabian and Twisted Wheel, The Enemy supported Oasis on their 2009 Dig Out Your Soul Tour, which included the Ricoh Arena gig in The Enemy's hometown of Coventry. In March and April 2009 the band embarked on their own UK & Ireland tour, playing to 70,000 people, with Twisted Wheel as support as well as Kid British. Birmingham singer Emma Skipp joined them on "No Time for Tears". The Enemy were forced to pull out of Oasis's Heaton Park concert on 4 June due to lead singer/guitarist Tom Clarke suffering from food poisoning. Although the band returned the following night they were replaced on the middle night of Oasis' Wembley Stadium three night run by Reverend and The Makers. The Coventry trio said that they were forced to pull out of their performance on 11 July because their singer Tom fell ill due to lily poisoning.

Streets in the Sky (2012–13)[edit]

After they finished touring Music for the People, the band took a two-year break before commencing work on their third album, playing the occasional show in the form of secret gigs.

The Enemy announced in 2011 that work had begun on their third album and had around 30 songs already written. They revealed the album was set to be released around late spring 2012, and also revealed that they had returned to their more original style of debut album 'We'll Live And Die In These Towns'. The band have signed to the Cooking Vinyl record label, working with original manager John Dawkins and new album producer Joby Ford (The Bronx). Tracks for the third album were recorded in London and Los Angeles – the band will be touring later in 2012.

On 21 February 2012, in a blog post made by lead singer Tom Clarke, the band announced the title of the album would be 'Streets In The Sky', and that they would be releasing a free single, 'Gimme The Sign'.[7] The album is also set to include tracks such as 'This Is Real' (which the band put on their website in demo form), 'Saturday', '1-2-3-4' and 'Bigger Cages (Longer Chains)' .The album was released on 21 May 2012, originally the same day as the first of two gigs in the ruins of Coventry Cathedral.[8] However, on 15 May 2012 the venue was changed to the Kasbah nightclub due to health and safety issues.[9]

On 10 April it was announced that The Enemy would perform at the FA Cup Final at Wembley stadium on 5 May.[10] The band performed two songs from the third album 'Streets In The Sky' before the match, from the roof of the stadium.[10] This was also broadcast live as part of ESPN's 'Talk Of The Terrace' show, along with the game. The album garnered negative reviews; incredulously more so than its predecessor. Some reviews were particularly scathing.[11][12]

In June 2012 they announced a UK Tour, beginning on 28 September in Weston-super-Mare and concluding on 26 October in Birmingham, with the band appearing in many major UK cities.[13]

It was announced on 6 September 2012 that the single 'Saturday' from Streets In The Sky was to be featured in the soundtrack of EA Sports game, FIFA 13.[14]

The Enemy headlined Crooked Ways Festival in West Yorkshire on 1 June 2013 and performed at Y Not Festival in Derbyshire on 4 August 2013.[15]

It's Automatic (2014–16)[edit]

The Enemy announced their fourth and final studio album would be titled It's Automatic and would be released on 9 October 2015. The first single taken from It's Automatic was 'Don't Let Nothing Get In The Way', this available from 7 July 2015.[16]

It's Automatic received mixed reviews upon release. An uncredited article in the Coventry Telegraph focused on the more positive reviews, leading with the Daily Star's "They're having a blast and back on peak form" comment. For the music-specific NME, Barry Nicolson concluded a 3/5 review with a less positive: "...and while it's sometimes ham-fisted, you can't fault it for being heartfelt."[17] While for Truck & Driver magazine's regular music reviews, editor Pip Dunn commenced his 2 of 5 star review with: "Sadly it’s a bit of a letdown from a three-man band that had previously been lauded as a saviour of guitar-based rock, with meaningful lyrics."[18]

Frontman Tom Clarke announced that the band would be splitting up for the foreseeable future, citing a multitude of reasons such as personal health issues, fatherhood and lack of exposure. [19]

Styles and influences[edit]

The Enemy aim to make music about friendship and social commentary like The Sway, 6 times The Jam & The Libertines. Tom Clarke has said that bands such as The Clash and Oasis have had a "huge influence on our friendships within the band and with our families. These bands taught us to open our hearts".[citation needed]



Studio albums[edit]

Album Details Peak positions
UK[20] IRE[21]
We'll Live and Die in These Towns
  • Released: 9 July 2007
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • Format: CD, Digital download
1 63
Music for the People
  • Released: 27 April 2009
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • Format: CD, digital download
2 41
Streets in the Sky 9
It's Automatic
  • Released: 9 October 2015
  • Label: VAM Records
  • Format: CD, digital download

Singles Chart[edit]

Year Title Peak chart positions Album

2006 "40 Days and 40 Nights" We'll Live and Die in These Towns
2007 "It's Not OK"
"Away from Here" 8 20 5
"Had Enough" 4 20 3
"You're Not Alone" 18 46 13
"We'll Live and Die in These Towns" 21 85 12
2008 "This Song Is About You" 41 6
2009 "No Time for Tears" 16 18 3 Music for the People
"Sing When You're in Love" 122 9
"Be Somebody" 193
2012 "Gimme the Sign" 35 Streets in the Sky
"Like a Dancer"
"This Is Real"
2015 "It's Automatic" It's Automatic

Music videos[edit]

Year Name
2006 40 Days & 40 Nights
It's Not OK
2007 Away from Here
Had Enough
2008 We'll Live and Die in These Towns
You're Not Alone
This Song Is About You
2009 No Time for Tears
Sing When You're in Love
Be Somebody (live)
2011 1,2,3,4 (acoustic)
2012 Saturday
Gimme the Sign
Like a Dancer
2015 "It's Automatic"

Music industry awards[edit]

  • Q Awards – Best New Act (awarded October 2007)
  • XFM Awards – Best British Debut Album of 2007 (awarded January 2008)
  • NME Awards – Best New Band (awarded February 2008)


  1. ^ "The Enemy It's Automatic". 9 October 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  2. ^ Dowling, Jordan (17 February 2007). ""Reviews – Live – The Fratellis, The Enemy"". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 22 April 2007.
  3. ^ "The Enemy vs Alex Zane: read the radio show transcript". NME. Retrieved 22 January 2009.
  4. ^ "Alex Zane Bans The Enemy From Xfm's Breakfast Show – What Really Happened". Retrieved 22 January 2009.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "TheEnemy / blog: Gimme The Sign. Radio 1 & Tickets". 20 February 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  8. ^ "Enemy's Plans Lie In Ruin". Coventry Telegraph. 3 April 2012. p. 5.
  9. ^ "The Enemy's cathedral gigs moved to new Coventry venue". BBC News. BBC. 15 May 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2012.
  10. ^ a b "The Enemy confirm Wembley Stadium gig for FA Cup final". Radio 1 Newsbeat. BBC. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  11. ^ Calvert, John (25 May 2012). "The Enemy – Streets in the Sky". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  12. ^ Kulkarni, Neil (17 May 2012). "The Enemy – Streets in the Sky – Review". The Quietus. Retrieved 19 April 2013.
  13. ^ "The Enemy announce extensive October UK tour - ticket details | News". Nme.Com. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  14. ^ Ingham, Tim (6 September 2012). "FIFA 13 soundtrack announced". Music Week. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  15. ^ "Y Not Festival". 20 April 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
  16. ^ "The Enemy reveal first song from new album – hear 'Don't Let Nothing Get In The Way'". 7 July 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  17. ^ "The Enemy It's Automatic". 6 October 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  18. ^ Dunn, Pip (January 2016). "Review: The Enemy It's Automatic". Truck & Driver. Sutton, England: Road Transport Media: 28.
  19. ^ "All good things…".
  20. ^ "Artists - The Enemy". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company.
  21. ^ "Discography The Enemy". Hung Medien.
  22. ^ Peak chart position on the UK Rock & Metal Singles Chart:

External links[edit]