Enter Shikari – A Kiss For The Whole World

A commanding return from the alt icons...

Swashbuckling, unpredictable and relentlessly consistent, many of us gave up years ago trying to quantify the creative genius that is Enter Shikari – as they make left turn after left turn. With album seven on the horizon this week, the Hertfordshire behemoths have returned with a record of continuity, picking up the baton of 2020’s ‘Nothing Is True And Everything Is Possible’ – and driving it forward into the not too distant future.

Perhaps one of the best album openers in recent history, the Pendulum-fuelled ‘A Kiss For The Whole World x’ explodes into sheer carnage, equilibrated by a brass section that only Shikari can pull off. The chorus is straight out of a stadium: drummer Rob Rolfe is at the height of his powers, with vocalist (and producer) Rou Reynolds setting the tone for the production of the album – polished, yet fearless.

‘A Kiss For The Whole World’ is scattered with explicit nods to Shikari’s history, notably the lyric in ‘Jailbreak:’ “I wish I was back in the dreamer’s hotel.” On a wider level, this pinpoints Shikari’s ability to remain inherently experimental and relevant, yet still maintain a strong awareness of their roots and where it all kicked off. In the first ten seconds of ‘Leap Into The Lightning’ we have the most radio-friendly vocal line of the record before the track descends into its usual Shikari chaos via 2023’s answer to ‘Anaesthetist.’ 

Ultimately, the record is a mission statement of spreading love and optimism, exemplified by some of the most emotive, unified vocals we’ve heard from Rou to date. ‘Dead Wood’ descends into nostalgia whilst effervescent synth stabs underpin the quintessentially Shikari metaphor “You are the goldfish / I am the bowl’ in ‘goldfish’. These are anthems of liberation for what seems an eternal uncertainty that we live in, compromising some of the heaviness of old for an additional burst of melody and colour.

If you aren’t familiar with Enter Shikari, the sheer breadth of the record can be slightly overwhelming, as you can never quite get comfortable with a chorus hook before an off-piece dance break unsettles you. By the third or fourth listen, we have a cohesive body of work rather than the initial identity crisis of noise that lead single ‘(pls) set me on fire’ perhaps preempted. 

‘A Kiss For The Whole World’ carries the intricate soundscapes of ‘The Spark’ and ‘Nothing Is True…’ forward, whilst propelling the band onward into yet another dimension of multi-layered, anthemic depth. The future, past and present is Enter Shikari’s, restructuring the sheer meaning of creativity with another commanding album.

8/10

Words: Rishi Shah

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