ALBUM REVIEW: Enter Shikari – ‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’


Words by Eden Campbell


Genre-bending juggernaut Enter Shikari‘s new album ‘Nothing Is True & Everything is Possible’ just dropped (Via So Recordings – 17 April 2020) and we have a track by track breakdown.

THE GREAT UNKNOWN

The record opens with a beautiful, broody piano vamp leading into a massive dance build as Rou Reynolds persistently asks – “Is this a new beginning?”. Slick production punctuated by four-to-the-floor kick drums, rave synths and heavy guitars burst into a heavily euphoric chorus: “Is anyone out there? Just give me a sign”. We’re listening and it sounds banging. Notable Moments: 2:44’s cheeky dubsteppy halftime pre-chorus.



Crossing The Rubicon

This song immediately opens with the chorus vocals over guitars (sans full band) “Now we’re crossing the Rubicon”. The major tonality is a big change of feel compared to ‘THE GREAT UNKNOWN’ and feels like a good palette cleanser. The arrangement is clever: the song essentially has 4 choruses and feels like a sort of pop-ditty but never feels repetitive. Big drum sound with synth bass and a whimsical clean guitar line. You’ll be singing along in no-time. Notable Moments: 2:23’s “Something’s got to give” bridge is a great refresher.

{ The Dreamer’s Hotel }

Heavy, industrial drums open the song while a nasty riff persists over Rou’s opening lines: “I’m gonna pick all your pockets”. Sneaky breakbeat fills every now and then break up the intro before a complete change of feel for the chorus – bigger, wider and more epic. A recurring lyrical hook of “Meanwhile” gives the song an anthemic singalong quality. Notable Moments: Every “meanwhile” in the song is going to be something you sing along to.



Walking Off The Face Of The Earth (I. Crescendo)

A whimsical, gypsy descending chord progression supported by synth (only on the upbeats!) gives the song a huge 2-step circus vibe. Rou monologues from the beginning – the song is essentially one huge crescendo (as per the title). As it builds, the mantra “Nothing is true and everything is possible” repeats over and over as a drum roll build leads into a huge, stomping, instrumental break (lyrics inspired by Peter Pomerantsev’s book of the same title?). Notable Moments: 2:39’s coda section is a quirky horn jam as the song decays to its end.

Modern Living

Stacked and harmonized vocals accompanied by distorted guitar opens the song in an almost stadium rock way before the drums drop in with wobbly bass. The chorus-effected guitars in the chorus lend the song an almost 80s feel while the rave-synths give the rest of the song an interesting juxtaposition. Great repetition of “We’re apocaholics / drinking gin and tonics” will have you singing along”. Notable Moments: 0:50 rap section with a big triplet feel would feel right at home on a grime record.

apøcaholics anonymøus (main theme in B minor)

A gapless transition from Modern Living leads into this song which serves as an interlude and quotes a number of melodic ideas (specifically the bass) while loping, edited drums give the song a Noisia feel. Notable Moments: 1:11 is HUGE and worth the wait.

the pressure’s on.

Feels like a 1975 song that’s been Enter Shikari‘ized. Beautiful, ambient guitar textures float around the soundstage as four-to-the-floor drums. The song constantly feels like it’s going somewhere, each section flows into the next and keeps building before the final big climax at 2:01. Rou’s “You better figure it out now / the pressure’s on” is another repeating vocal hook. Notable Moments: 2:36’s coda is a masterful scene change and conveys a sense of tranquillity after the huge chorus.

Reprise 3

Another gapless transition flows into Reprise 3 as it opens with an almost Stranger-Things vibed synth that decays away to nothing. A low, brooding piano plays while Rou’s octave-down voice repeats: “And still we will be here… and still we will be here”…Those lines are familiar to any Shikari veteran – first making an appearance in their debut EP ‘The Zone’, and have been furiously peppered throughout their discography since.

Notable Moments: The song is a brilliant palette cleanser intro to T.I.N.A.

T.I.N.A.

The third single from this album, T.I.N.A (“There Is No Alternative”) is a massive industrial dance banger with repeated synth motifs that lead into seething guitar-driven hooks. The song regularly switches things up by playing around with the 4/4 kick drum pattern and shifting to more syncopated rhythms during the hook parts. Notable Moments: The whole damn song!

Elegy for Extinction

Elegy begins with a quaint, major-feeling, Disney’esque string and horn arrangement that feels heavily cinematic and would be at home in a Hollywood epic. Marching drums enter halfway through to bring up the pace before an epic horn fanfare. 3/4 of the way in, a big shift in the melodic feel and the song takes a darker, frantic turn with orchestral bass-drum hits and tremolo strings adding a sense of urgency. Notable Moments: 2:41, when all the beauty becomes darkness.

Marionettes (I. The Discovery of Strings)

4 bars of ravey bandpassed breakbeats before a sultry horn solo opens by quoting the initial verse vocal melody. Softly crooned vocals contrast with the following riff sections when suddenly the song goes into full electronic dance mode. The song in parts feels very garage with heavy sub-bass and syncopated drums before gaplessly leading into…

Marionettes (II. The Ascent)

A persistent synth bassline loops while theatrical spoken-word vocals build in intensity: “Climb, climb, search and seek! We will test this truth you speak”. The first half feels dramatic and theatrical before entering the huge, anthemic chorus: “Our minds are firewood / and now we spark the match / we set ourselves alight”. Notable Moments: 1:14 when that first chorus hits is majesty at its finest.

satellites * *

Immediate Imogen Heap vibes as the opening (heavily processed) vocals announce “I wish I was a comet / burning up into the night”. This is over before fast 2-step rock drums enter and the song is off to the stars! This tune exudes positive energy at a frenetic pace all the while throwing in loads of astronomical metaphors. Notable Moments: The choruses make the song feel like a thorough drum n bass banger.



thē kĭñg

The king is a raucous, banger of hyperactivity with an infectiously catchy horn loop while the constant punk snare pattern makes you feel like screaming along: “I used to be the king / but they took everything / they even stole my crown / I’m gonna track you down”. It’s the last bit of Shikari madness on the record before the final track…

Waltzing off the Face of the Earth (II. Piangevole)

The final track is a beautiful, evolving orchestral masterpiece overlaid with rainforest and stream sounds. Sparse glitch elements permeate throughout the track as a 3/4 waltzy guitar loop ties the arrangement together. Meandering, floating horn arrangements float over the song as reverb drenched vocals herald the end: “Nothing is true / and we’re waltzing off the face of the earth”.


What a journey! Enter Shikari have created an album that ties all their eclectic elements and isms together in one cohesive work that flows effortlessly from manic dance segments to magnificent orchestral arrangements. The sound they’ve developed has become further refined and the production is tight. As one final note: this record slams hard when it needs to.


Purchase/Listen HERE



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With thanks to Dallas Does PR

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