The history of hardcore punk has not been incredibly well-stocked with bands that could, just as equally, make a living writing music to be played to soundtrack vomiting children on a fairground waltzer.
That is, however, exactly the role that ‘The Feast (demo)’ – the opening track on Enter Shikari’s collection of demos, radio sessions and odds and sods – appears made to fulfil. A crazed concoction of gabba kickdrums, meat-hook guitars and one-finger keyboard riffs sped up to a blur, the band manage to make this already ludicrous creation a good 30 per cent more ludicrous by singing about an angry Minotaur and swinging on chandeliers.
Frankly, this isn’t what you’re supposed to do in hardcore. It’s tacky and juvenile and one day the older you will look back at the younger you, with your glowsticks and fluorescent laces and be ashamed. But here’s the thing: the older you will be wrong, kinda – because it’s this band’s gleeful disrespect for The Right Thing To Do that actually, sometimes, makes them feel like genuine innovators.
‘Mothership (demo)’ is the quintessential example of Shikari’s key discovery – that hardcore punk and trance share common DNA. That, essentially, those fist-twirling moshpit breakdown and glowstick-twirling synth climaxes are the same thing.
Ultimately, though, ‘The Zone’ falls down, not for its rather piecemeal creation, but because Enter Shikari seem too excitable to sort their good ideas from bad. ‘Kickin’ Back On The Surface Of Your Cheek’ can’t decide if it wants to be a raging hardcore chant to Sigur Rós’ ice-slide or a flowery grunge riff-out. And are they really singing the words “Penetrating/Your fucking noodly tangle” on ‘Keep It On Ice’? Seriously, who thought that would be a good idea? Have they maybe spent too long on the waltzers?