Do Enter Shikari still have it after three years?
Three years and many tours since the last studio album, Enter Shikari fans are ready to welcome the new release ‘Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible’ with open arms, especially after the promise of the singles released in the run up. Enter Shikari are aging like fine wine, and the latest album is a new flavour profile to the bottle.
The Great Unknown has a kind of uniting energy to it that will no doubt provide an incredible live performance and it does a good job of setting up the rest of the album. But then comes in Crossing The Rubicon. Something about it just doesn’t work for me. I understand the charm others see in it, but as a follow onto The Great Unknown it’s just pretty mediocre. That said, I think it’s going to grow on me, like most tracks on the album. I have an expectation of Shikari, set by Common Dreads, to hear three different sounds in one song. But that standard was over ten years ago now and the band have moved onto a more refined, radio friendly, but still boundary hopping songs. I’m just still getting used to it.
Then comes our first taste of the new era with first single The Dreamers Hotel. I could see this track sitting comfortably on the Thumper EP. A nod to past Shikari eras but updated to become topical and critique the toxicity of social media. I think that’s what gives the album such a charm; the influence of past albums is very apparent. While that may seem an obvious statement, that was not present in the previously released album, The Spark, I suppose due to the personal nature of the album.
Waltzing Off the Face of the Earth (I. Crescendo), is just straight up unexpected and feels somewhat more of an opener then a mid album track. But with a philosophical chant of the album title and possibly the most abstract track name (It’s a tough competition) it sums up the album, just with a lot more wind instruments.
Modern Living and Apocoholics anonymous (Main theme in B minor) seems to be born of Shikaris side project, Shikari Sound System. Heavy synth into an abrupt disordered ending sees Shikari giving the end of the world a theme tune.
Here the album takes a complete tone change once again. The Pressures On sounds like a stray from The Spark. Catchy and easy to sing too, but like Rubicon, just doesn’t quite do it.
Reprise 3 serves as an intro for T.I.N.A and gives a rebranding to the classic shikari chant ‘And still we will be here, standing like statues.
Yet another change as we jump to Elegy Of Extinction, a piece of music that sounds straight out of a film soundtrack. Rou got his hands on a 70 piece Orchestra to record this one for him. Surprisingly for a fully orchestrated piece it doesn’t feel out of place on the album, and it serves a good excuse for the band to show the extents of their talents.
I’m not really sure what to say about the two Marionette tracks. I don’t think it can be put into words. Shikari have taken innovation to a new level. If you only listen to one part of this album, make sure it’s the Marionettes.
Once Satellites builds up it becomes a feel good and infectiously catchy track, another one that I have no doubt will be amped up live.
The 15 track roller coaster finishes with dreamy Waltzing off the face of the earth (II.Pingevole) All things considered, it’s a pretty tame conclusion. But after that fluctuation of an album, it’s welcomed.
Nothing is True and Everything is Possible just has something about it, something more than previous albums that I couldn’t quite place. That is, until I found out that the only credited producer is Rou himself. With full control of the wheel, he could execute his vision from start to finish, giving it that little extra oomph that sets it apart. The freedom explains the somewhat sporadic nature of the collection, but I don’t see this as a negative at all. While on first listen it was a little confusing, this album is definitely going to grow on all who hear it, and the twists and turns will provide excitement and wonder that only increase with each listen.