The first glance of this album came in the form of { The Dreamer’s Hotel }. Opening with a good old-fashioned “OI” to blow away any cobwebs, this single delivers on a multitude of levels. Throughout the verses, the instrumentation provides a pulsating platform upon which frontman Rou Reynolds spits out his lyrics with customary venom. The pace never lets up as the verses maraude into an explosive chorus that will only sound better when sang by a crowd of adoring fans at Shikari’s live shows to come.

In truth, all of the singles selected from the album were impeccably chosen. thē kĭñg is a grungy, sludgy romp that will have even your nan two-stepping across the living room. The previous two singles were by no means archetypal of Shikari’s sound; in fact, they’re one of few bands around that could be defined in terms of a blueprint dynamic. However, the third single T.I.N.A. is the first major flex of the band’s immensely diverse capabilities that they flaunt on this album. A lovechild of EDM and alt-rock, T.I.N.A feels like a concoction of every genre that Shikari had dabbled in up until this point.

Thematically, Enter Shikari certainly don’t shirk the political edge that has fuelled much of their songwriting to date. “There’s been a shooting in a Wal-Mart so put guns on every shopping cart” is just one line of many from Waltzing off the Face of the Earth (I. Crescendo) that sticks with the listener long after the song is finished.

The album’s message is not one that is solely concerned with politics. Rather, there is an overarching exploration of what possibility means for our society. The notion of possibility is one that can be associated with the potentially boundless capabilities of the human race – just how far can our collective intelligence take us? The answer isn’t necessarily as optimistic as the initially wonderous connotations of the word ‘possibility’ suggest. Rather, Shikari challenge that we now live in a world where possibility is also a point of concern as we are increasingly showing ourselves to be capable of some truly shocking things.

Enter Shikari have never been a band content with scratching the surface. While they are heavily invested in the meaning of their craft, it is never to the extent that the music feels compromised. Their sound is not secondary to their message. For example, modern living… is a sonic earworm. It’s another change of tone within the album, most notably so in the infectious yet almost sickly sweet “we’re apocaholics” hook. The rapped verses have a superbly disarming stop-start flow which is executed with ease by Reynolds. The intermittency of the verses is somewhat mirrored in the song’s trancey epilogue apøcaholics anonymøus (main theme in B minor) in which the previous hook is jarringly warped and distorted beyond recognition.

Other examples of the more amiable listens on this record include Crossing The Rubicon and satellites* * both of which feature spritely major-key motifs that provide pleasant respite from the album’s darker tones. A different brand of respite arrives in the form of Elegy For Extinction. It’s a classical piece that was arranged by film and television composer George Fenton (GandhiBlue Planet and Planet Earth are a few highlights from his impressive career). An unexpected collaboration, the piece was recorded in Prague with the City Of Prague Symphony Orchestra. Including a track like this is a bold move from Shikari and it’s rather far-removed from the dynamic that people typically associate with the band. While it most likely won’t be making its way onto fans’ playlists, the band’s desire to deliver music that spans a breadth of genres is admirable.

While the unorthodox track titles make the tracklisting feel messy and tricky to navigate, they are a visible indication that Enter Shikari are trying something different here. This is, without a doubt, the band’s most ambitious output to date. With such an array of sounds, there will naturally be aspects that resonate well with some and less so with others and because of this, Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible is a challenging listen, even by Enter Shikari’s standards. The hit songs hit well. Some tracks are growers, and others miss the mark, but that’s just one person’s experience… no one will have the same experience in listening to this record simply because there is such a vast spectrum of music on offer.

3.5/5 Bytes

Aaron Jackson

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Pre-order Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible HERE

 

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