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21st April 2023

Album review: Enter Shikari – A Kiss For The Whole World

Enter Shikari’s seventh studio album is a jubilant triumph
Album review: Enter Shikari – A Kiss For The Whole World
Photo: A Kiss For The Whole World – Official Album Art

Enter Shikari’s first album in three years, A Kiss For The Whole World, is their seventh studio outing. With over twenty years of experience under their belt, Shikari show no signs of slowing down, and their newest offering is a joyous synthesis of everything that has made them so enduring.

Opening track ‘A Kiss for the Whole World x’ starts with a flourish, opening with a horn section that backs an instrumental made up of fizzy synths and heavy guitar. It’s a spectacular introduction to the album; this track went down a storm when introduced to their live sets on the final leg of their recent residency tour. Featuring a lyrical callback to ‘Stand Your Ground; This is Ancient Land’ (“You’re still standing like a statue”) from debut album Take to the Skies, it’s one of a number of references to their back catalogue that fans will have fun spotting.

It’s followed by ‘(pls) set me on fire’, one of the album’s three singles. Described by vocalist Rou Reynolds as “explosive” in an interview with NME, it boasts an anthemic chorus and quickfire verses that encapsulate the signature Shikari sound. It’s followed immediately by a second single, ‘It Hurts’, with a hopeful message of overcoming hardships and not being defined by failure. With a stellar electronic breakdown that channels 2012’s A Flash Flood of Colour, it’s once again a strong example of Enter Shikari building on their classic sound.

This hopeful, optimistic tone carries through with the lyrics to ‘Leap into the Lightning’ (“There’s no use waiting for the storm to blow over / Leap into the lightning”), which is absolutely an album highlight. It features everything you could want from a Shikari song; gritty guitar, dark synths that build into a bouncy, catchy chorus, and a euphoric breakdown. 

‘feed yøur søul’ is the first of the album’s instrumental interludes, leading directly into ‘Dead Wood’. Speaking to The Mancunion, bassist Chris Batten described this tune as sounding completely different from anything the group has recorded before. Led almost solely by a strings section for the first two minutes, it’s certainly a dramatic statement, building to a climax that combines a strong rhythm section (courtesy of Batten and drummer Rob Rolfe) with vocals that feel tailor-made for fans to chant along with at live shows.

‘Jailbreak’ feels like the spiritual successor to ‘{ The Dreamer’s Hotel }’ from 2020’s Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible, with lyrics hearkening back to this track (“I won’t be held captive even when my mind is a prison cell / I won’t be held captive, wish I was back at the Dreamer’s Hotel”). It leans more into the poppier side of Enter Shikari, a sound they’ve mastered as they’ve matured as a group.

The final of the album’s singles, ‘Bloodshot’, is the track that leans most into the dance genre, featuring pitched electronic vocals that are reminiscent of The Prodigy. The chorus is satisfyingly heavy, and it sounds just as good rendered with classical instruments in the next interlude, ‘Bloodshot (Coda)’. 

‘goldfish ~’ is once again a stellar example of the way Enter Shikari merge their electronic and hardcore influences, with gnarly, gritty verses leading into a more upbeat, synth-backed chorus and a heavy breakdown. The momentum from this track is carried through to ‘Giant Pacific Octopus (i don’t know you anymore)’, opening with Rory Clewlow‘s fast-paced guitar riffs and building to a blistering chorus. It leads into the final instrumental track of the album (and easily the best named), ‘giant pacific octopus swirling off into infinity…’, which slows things down to end on a well-rounded note.

It’s an album which feels quintessentially Shikari, and yet demonstrates their sound is constantly evolving and maturing. Nothing short of joyous, it’s an exultant triumph.


You can stream A Kiss For The Whole World below:

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