Album Review: Enter Shikari – Nothing is true & Everything is Possible

The St Albans bred quartet question everything with their outlandishly ambitious new record, Nothing is True & Everything is Possible.

Coming off the back of their 2017 record The Spark, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Enter Shikari couldn’t possibly take their experimentation to more extreme lengths; but you would be completely mistaken. Their sixth output Nothing is True & Everything is Possible goes boldly where Shikari have never gone before.

Released on 17th April 2020 through label SO Recordings, the album is, for lack of a better word, chaotic, one might even go as far to say that it’s a bit of a mess. But here’s the thing… it’s a beautiful mess. It perfectly captures the erratic mental state that I think the majority of us are experiencing right now. The album is produced by the frontman of the band himself, Rou Reynolds, and this fact alone is utterly commendable when you hear how eclectically mental it really is (there’s a four-minute classical arrangement in the form of Elegy For Extinction for a start!). Nothing is True & Everything is Possible is everything Shikari was, is, and hopes to be.

As is so typical of the band’s lyrical content, the mega collection of fifteen tracks tackle everything from anxiety, climate change, social disarray and the general collapse of society (cheery stuff, ay?). However, there’s a strange aura of optimism littered throughout that everything is truly possible. This tone is immediately set out in album opener and most recent single THE GREAT UNKNOWN, as Rou laments, “is this a new beginning, or are we close to the end?”, you truly feel right there with him that we’re at a complete crossroads. As an album opener, it truly throws you in at the deep end with the existential crisis you’re probably already having anyway.

left to right: Chris Batten, Rou Reynolds, Rory Clewlow, Rob Rolfe

The cool thing about this record is that it’s like an amalgamation of all of Shikari’s previous work rolled into one; { The Dreamers Hotel } and thē kiñg sound like they could be on A Flash Flood of Colour with their electro-punk bite, and T.I.N.A’s trance-like, ever-present beeps could’ve been ripped straight out of debut Take to The Skies. This in itself would’ve been enough, but the inclusion of a dizzying crescendo of horns in Waltzing Off The Face Of The Earth (I. Crescendo) distinctly reminds me of Common Dreads. It’s truly a dream mash-up of Shikari’s history so whichever era you identify with, you’re guaranteed a nostalgia hit. modern living… is an instant anthem, with its football chant-esque motif of “We’re apocaholics, drinking gin and tonics,”. Things take a U-turn into a ballad with the pressure’s on, proving that every mood has its own place on Nothing is True.

The underlying gem of the album, in my opinion, is satellites* *. The blend of electronica, pure rock/pop comes to seamless fruition in this one song; the whirling panning effect in the pre-chorus is production at its finest, hats off Rou! Closing the show in spectacular fashion is Waltzing Off the Face of the Earth (II. Piangevole), featuring a wonderful smash together of both Shikari’s raucous instrumentation and the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestre, with a fading vocal line of the song’s title, we’re left wondering what comes next; the entire premise of the album is summed up in this last blast of sonic noise.

How does one sum up Nothing is True & Everything is Possible? The title pretty much speaks for itself. If you’re a fan of the straight forward, beginning-middle-and-end albums that are extremely commonplace in the music industry today, I’m not sure you’ll be completely sold on this one; I’ll be honest that it took me a good six listens through to be utterly on board because it genuinely does take some serious pondering to understand the full premise of what Enter Shikari are trying to do here. After these few listens, I am utterly amazed at what they’ve managed to achieve with this album. I cannot wait to see what they’ve got in store for their upcoming tour to hear some of these tracks in a live setting, but as they’ve already iterated to us, everything is possible.

Get tickets to see Enter Shikari here!

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