St. Albans emo/post-hardcore band Enter Shikari first came to prominence in 2007, when their self-released debut 'Take to the Skies' achieved a Top 5 chart placing and they sold out London's Astoria venue when still unsigned.
'Common Dreads', their second album, sees the quartet build on their massive success as well as broaden their scope lyrically. This time 'round, lead singer Rou Reynolds ruminates on politics ('Fanfare for the Conscious Man') and war ('Havok B'), although both songs come off a little too platitudinous to be taken seriously. Musically, it seems at times that Enter Shikari harbour ambitions to become the next Muse: 'Step Up' is a juddering epic made for stadium performances, and 'Antwerpen' is a similarly driving rock beast.
Yet for the most part, the quartet still favour powerful riffs and screamo vocals over melodies and hooks, which is what ultimately prevents them from reaching out to a wider audience. The wonky stop-start guitars and rave-like undercurrent of 'Zzzonked' is one of the more interesting songs here (even if Reynolds sounds like a very, very angry Mike Skinner), but even the lightest track on offer - the pop-rock number 'Juggernauts' - lacks the vital ingredient that will keep listeners pressing the repeat button. 'Common Dreads' is probably everything the Enter Shikari fan will want in a second album; but for the casual observer, it's an overkill of brawn, insufficient brain.