Enter Shikari has over their last six studio albums impressively evolved their unique musical style.

In the thirteen years since their debut, Take to The Skies, was released, the band have built extensively on their post-hardcore thrashy hi-nrg synth sound.

While Shikari’s lyric output has remained consistent; liberal global ideologies, anthropological introspection and humour.

Each album has added more layers to Shikari’s musical hybrid. Some fans over the year have been cynical as more pop hooks moved in. Their last album, The Spark, was particularly divisive. Many have enthused that with Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible, Enter Shikari, will simply return to their early heaviness. Do they or do Enter Shikari continue to look forward and expand on their solid back catalogue?

Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible has been my soundtrack to (and yes, I’m underplaying here) an unprecedented few weeks. Monumental changes to work, life and relationships as well as a staggering amount of isolation. While Enter Shikari may not have profound foresight of what was to come when recording this album, Rou Reynolds words uncannily allude to and underscore recent events on multiple tracks.

“Is this a new beginning or are we close to the end?” the opening track, The Great Unknown asks. As Reynolds reaches for a lifeline and shouts into the great unknown, we are thrust into an idiosyncratic up-tempo mix of electronic dance floor rhythms with harder guitar riffs hanging out in the back. A sharp tempo change next for Crossing The Rubicon with its mellower groove and pop sensibilities. It is not only uplifting, its therapeutically catchy full of lyrical depths to delve “Fill me out a prescription for this existential dread” sings Reynolds before quoting Samuel Becket. Existential philosophy and Irish novelists are not usual pop tropes, thankfully Shikari has never relied on clichés.

 

{The Dreamers Hotel } is an adrenaline-charged slap against cancel culture, the intimidating war zone that is social media and the desire to find a more amenable space in which we can reside. For all its insurgency it is an accessible even amiable song that demands a physical reaction; even if currently the dancefloor is our living rooms. Waltzing off the Face of the Earth (I. Crescendo) draws from the harsh realities and insanity of modern existence. Repeated lyrics, discordant noises and melody collide like overwhelmed thoughts in an anxiety-riddled mind. “Darling you were a mistake and climate change is fake, You must dream of being rich and famous only then will life will be painless”

How Enter Shikari meld their oratorical lyricism about capitalism to rhythms and melody borders on genius at times. Modern living…. is one of those tracks that shouldn’t work but not only does it – it does so beautifully. Trance, drum n’ bass even dub influences are fused with grime-esque deliveries and gritty reflection. “How can you never be nervous? How can you never consider the risk consider a hideous end? On every face a filter, Masking weakness, Masking woe, You’re the picture of composure, You’re tossing a coin guessing it twice and then expecting it thrice.” As Modern Living …. grinds into apøcaholics anonymøus (main theme in B minor) we are again visiting a slightly jarring, cacophony of noises, vocals and electronic conflagration.

the pressure’s on, feels full of soaring optimism but darkness lies within the trudging drumbeats. A narrative of a strained even fatigued fight to move forward. Like Sisyphus perpetual striving but ultimately always starting from the beginning once again. Elegy for Extinction is the kind of soaring theatrical score that you’d expect to hear preceding the underdog protagonist succeeding in a movies final shot. This instrumental mini-masterpiece was recorded with the City of Prague Symphony Orchestra and again shows the scope Shikari’s sound can expand too. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine that some are poised over their keyboards ready to left forth their vitriol way before Marionettes (I. The Discovery of Strings) and Marionettes (II. The Ascent. If they haven’t these dance-club-friendly cuts are sure to have them ejecting their bile.

Harnessing those pop sensibilities once again satellites* * is exquisitely invigorating. Hitting all those sweet spots as it soars taking you on a journey far beyond the walls we currently must remain behind. Together the words, the melodies and harmonies burn with healing powers. “We refrain from touch, We are satellites, In a cosmic dance amongst the Northern lights, And we orbit fast but I wish we could collide, I’m sick of conceding, I’m sick of the feeling, I no longer want to hide, Because I think it could be love”. Repeated listening has resulted in overdosing on dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, endorphins and partaking in excessively energetic sing-alongs that keep the cabin fever at bay.

As well as being cathartic, Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible is packed with insight, emotion and presents a lot to delve into. With beautifully created instrumental arrangements, stunning riffs and contagious refrains. For the most part, Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible remains coherent but don’t expect to be spoonfed all its delights. There are many paradoxes to unravel and discover, meaning this is an album that delivers something magical with each new listen.

Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible is both an escape from and a connection to the here and now. Pablo Picasso said, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls” Enter Shikari with Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible has not only washed the dust off it has eased, enriched and educated the soul too. So, while Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible currently a soundtrack to the strangest of times. This situation will eventually pass. Society will heal and hopefully, society will emerge with a more acute sense of empathy. When it does Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible, with its enthusiasm and astuteness, will be a soundtrack for those times too.

Enter Shikari release Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible on Friday 17 April 2020. Pre-order is available now (link here) with a variety of special bundles that include t-shirts, pins and coloured vinyl and cassettes.

Stay informed about Enter Shikari via their official websiteFacebook page and Twitter from where they tweet as @ENTERSHIKARI.


We rate:
4.6 rating