Without live music, Enter Shikari’s Rou Reynolds found himself in a creative drought. When the plug was pulled on gigs thanks to the spread of COVID-19, he didn’t write a note for a year and a half, his inspiration and motivation drained; the band released their most recent record ‘Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible’ in April 2020, as the scale of the moment was still emerging.
“My brain was basically saying, ‘What’s the point in writing music if you can’t share it in a life experience with others?’” Reynolds told NME back in January. “My sense of purpose had disappeared. It was very surreal because we were essentially witnessing the death of our band, and we couldn’t do anything about it.”
It’s no surprise, then, that ‘A Kiss For The Whole World’ is fuelled by an ever-present feeling of renewal. It feels louder and brighter – the title track’s triumphant opening fanfare gives way to thrumming guitars and excited, pattering percussion while ‘(pls) set me on fire’ shimmies in with a technicolour samba vibe, Reynolds’ voice rasping with zeal. Here, on their seventh album and two decades down the line, Enter Shikari sound perhaps the most joyful they’ve ever been, and even when they become characteristically philosophical, it still comes from a place of positivity. ‘It Hurts’, for example, seeks glimpses of sunlight in the clouds with its message about learning from failure, while the glitchiness of ‘Leap Into The Lightning’ forms the sonic backdrop of an ode to the power of spontaneity.
Despite that brightness being higher up on their agenda this time around though, they never abandon their social conscience. The rave-ready ‘Bloodshot’ looks with intrigue at outrage culture, and the ominous ‘goldfish~’ sees Reynolds try on the shoes of a power-thirsty leader, offering a lesson that “when people feel powerless, they will rarely resist”
Their message is as potent as ever as is the conviction. Amid the bleakness of cost-of-living-crisis Britain, the shot of joy it provides is a welcome tonic, particularly from unexpected quarters. Shikari have already mastered the feeling of the world retreating on their last record; this time, they’re positioning joy as an act of resistance.
- Release date: April 21, 2023
- Record label: SO Recordings / Ambush Reality