A perfectly excecuted album flawlessly put together by Enter Shikari proves to be a very likely candidate for one of the best albums of the year.
Enter Shikari back in their earlier days were an absolute unit, progressing the heavy electronic rock genre, with albums Common Dreads and A Flash Flood of Colour defining much of my generation’s angsty teenage rock phase. However, with the release of their last album, The Spark, they moved towards a more electronic sound and away from the shouting and the screeching, which enthralled some and disappointed others. However, with their latest album, Nothing is True and Everything is Possible, the entire history of their discography is brought to the forefront. With genre clash galore, heavy electronic tracks followed by orchestral pieces, with a pop-punk undertone to the album, this is Shikari at their prime.
Kicking off the album in true Shikari fashion with a strong electronic bassy crescendo is ‘THE GREAT UNKNOWN’. The first 30 seconds of the album truly entice you in, with ruckus and vigour, a social commentary of our current political climate (a theme present throughout the duration of the album). The sheer diversity of musical talent from Enter Shikari is admirable, as lead vocalist Rou Reynolds (and all-around producing powerhouse), has put together a masterpiece, transitioning from the electro-rock vibes of ‘THE GREAT UNKNOWN’ straight into the pure electropop ecstasy of ‘Crossing the Rubicon’ and then back to a polished rock anthem with ‘The Dreamers’ Hotel’, their first single to drop from this album. This trilogy of opening tracks truly sets the course for the rest of the album, as the listener never knows what’s coming next, whether they’ll be slammed by an electro-rock heavy hitter or the gentle caress of an orchestral masterpiece.
Speaking of orchestral tracks, ‘Elegy for Extinction’ is a beautifully composed piece and potentially the hidden gem within the album. The track was worked on by Reynolds with assistance from the City of Prague Symphony Orchestra and composer George Fenton (who has previously composed soundtracks for Planet Earth and Blue Planet) and embodies the genre-clash of the album, combining classical influences with an inorganic influence to produce a cacophony of textures within the track, layered with the gradual build of volume throughout leading to a dramatically deconstructed climax. A personal highlight of the album is are the tracks that succeed ‘Elegy for Extinction’, ‘Marionettes’ I & II. The tracks tell a two-part story of the discovery of freedom and being unconfined by “the strings” that current society implies, and the sweet release of constraints that leads to freedom and ultimately progress.
The concept of true freedom is the inspiration for the album, breaking the current foundations of lies that the modern political system is built upon. The idea that everything we know is wrong, and now discovering the truth that nobody can be trusted may be harrowing, yet Shikari manages to take the optimistic approach and build a mind-bending utopia in our minds. The ‘Waltzing Off the Face of the Earth’ tracks are lyrically interesting, commenting on many of the backward situations this world faces, more-so in part I, soundtracked with an inaudible din as background noise, bringing a lack of clarity to the track. The final track and second part of the track slices through the chaos and reveals a bright and clean classically inspired track, reminiscent of what one might hear in a forest. Birdsong and the gentle trickle of a stream bring in a subtle but effective brass accompaniment which perfectly encapsulates the repeated message that Nothing is True and Everything is Possible.
Overall, the depth and work that has been put into making such a clearly visioned and well-executed album put this album in the frame to potentially be one of the best albums of 2020. Reynolds and the rest of Enter Shikari have smashed it out of the park with Nothing is True and Everything is Possible, the jewel in the crown of Enter Shikari’s discography.
Nothing is True and Everything is Possible is due for release on 17th April 2020 via So recordings
Catch the video for ‘Dreamers’ Hotel’ below: