Enter Shikari
A Kiss For The Whole World


2.9
good

Review

by Ben STAFF
April 20th, 2023 | 356 replies


Release Date: 04/21/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Everything Is True and Nothing Is Possible

Reynolds and co’s apparent creative longevity seems owed, at least in part, to their healthy relationship with regards to what “Enter Shikari” means. Not one LP in their storied canon has attempted complete reinvention, nor have they sunk into a trite repetition > self-parody > stagnation loop. Their secret to prolonged success lives, instead, within the saucy middleground: of building on their legacy without toppling it and - through measured, mindful iteration - succeeding at the elusive art of growing up. Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible was the culmination of this story arc: a joyous celebration of everything the lads have thrown at the last 10 years, delicately balancing past and present whilst working in yet more layers of colour via symphonic flamboyance. Follow-up LP, A Kiss For the Whole World, is an altogether different *cough* worse *cough* experience (eek).

Rather than picking one trick from the ES playbook and taking it in a new and interesting direction, as per the secret sauce recipe above, the group’s snappy (sloppy) 7th endeavor decides to do literally EVERYTHING all at once oh my oh no oh ahhhh(!): there’s the glossy pop sheen of The Spark, late-00s wubb wubbs a la Common Dreads, occasional smol-screms of both The Mindsweep and Take to the Skies lineage, and a nod to their newfound and much-loved orchestral tendencies. It’s a fustercluck, honestly, particularly when all of these various tastes, tones and timbres are squeezed into increasingly tight spaces. The CHORUS is now KING, apparently, w/ brevity and hooks and boogie-woogie-earworms becoming the band’s main, if not sole, songwriting structures. The whole hyperactive hodgepodge is funnelled through these restrictive musical tubes, congealing into a compact 30-ish-min package with decidedly mixed results.

First, the plus side: this is a very catchy album. “Bloodshot”, despite its dated Bangarang-y motif, is a monstrous banger front-to-back, entwining groaning chuggas and popcorn synths with piquant pizzazz. The same can be said of the equally PHAT opening bop - a fidgety, kaleidoscopic anthem of stadium-sized proportions - as well as the delightfully peppy “Leap Into The Lightening”, which currently lives rent free in the void between my ears. There is, however, a pervasive flatness here, or messiness, or wayward lack of focus, idk, something(!), that doesn’t sit well with my brain cells, especially when compared to the deft precision of the band’s last two outings. It’s in fundamental areas, too: lyrics are tepid, mixing cluttered, song-structures rudimentary and finesse generally lacking. It smacks more of a quick peck on the cheek than a generous sultry slobber which, following their 2020 opus, feels jarringly under-ambitious. This feeling isn’t universal, thankfully: album highlights “Dead Wood” and “Jailbreak” fucking soar w/ a vox:layered /// lyrics:quotable /// ALL:CAPS:BABY thing, toying with texture and pacing and inter-album references avec cheek///charm.

This inconsistency makes sense, I guess. Rou has recently spoken of the “creative depression” he encountered during the lockdown period - of not being able to connect with the experiential juices that would usually motivate his limbs to splatter paint in the direction of the canvas - and of A Kiss For the Whole World being the vessel through which he slurped up that sweet sauce once again. It’s understandable, then, that the byproduct of his reawakening feels intermittently/simultaneously underbaked/overdone. How else do you explain the sticky mess of “Goldfish ~”, a late-album cut that slaps together the chonkiest riff of the record with a slippery wet (shit) refrain, the holistic experience landing limp-wristed and conflicted. An equally muddled air seeps from all three flaccid interludes, each dialling in cute electronic/orchestral tendencies with a distinct lack of direction or feeling.

The answer, helpfully, is laid out w/clarity in faux-firecracker closer, “Giant Pacific Octopus (i Don’t Know You Anymore)”. Atop calamari flavoured riffage and a plastic-pastel-palette, Rou meditates on his rejuvenated creative droplets, acknowledging their unknowability and changeability, and coming damn close to acknowledging the LP as the identity crisis about identity crisis that it is. But, also: who fucking cares? Consistent creative excellence is unobtainable and dumb, and A Kiss For the Whole World remains eminently-listenable low-calorie fun despite its intermittent slip ups. It is well worth the time of any long-term band-fan, particularly those in need of their, uh, electrosynphonicorepop fix. Its shortcomings are also an essential proof of a theorem I've long thunk: that doing both more and less is, more or less, both more and less. How smart am I?! Don’t answer that…



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3.1
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Comments:Add a Comment 
AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2023


9741 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

not the review i wanted to write but ah well



thanks kompy / row / jonathan for the PROOFS



out tomorrow x

SteakByrnes
April 20th 2023


29444 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Woah I forgot this comes out tomorrow! Hype as fuck! Great review, hopefully I like this more than you lol, I love pls set me on fire

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2023


9741 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

then you will probably love the whole thing and i hope that you do !



i seem to be being more critical of this than the other reviews I've seen posted on various other webzines so far so fingers crossed I'm just on a downer and this is hype as BALLS for you all

onionbubs
April 20th 2023


19780 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

great review. album is good but definitely a step down from their last three for me. feel like rous melody writing is shockingly weak on this by his standards. a lot of the choruses here feel pretty bland to me, made more frustrating when a lot of tracks feature a better pre chorus or other stronger hooks around it (ex: goldfish's prechorus smokes its actual chorus)



still some songs i really love tho. dead wood is spectacular and pls set me on fire is still incredible

SteakByrnes
April 20th 2023


29444 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

why is the review score 2.9 but your score is 3.0 are you in cahoots with a neerdowell

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2023


9741 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

because i am OCD and increments scare me

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2023


9741 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i thought the code was more guidelines, really



arr

SteakByrnes
April 20th 2023


29444 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Does Rou do any lows on this I must know

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2023


9741 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@steak yes once it lasts approximately 1 second

SteakByrnes
April 20th 2023


29444 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

let's fucking go

HelloJoe
April 20th 2023


978 Comments


I liked the singles from this album, so I'm interested in hearing it. (Pls) Set Me on Fire in particular. Like that song.

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2023


9741 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

hi joe

Mort.
April 20th 2023


24824 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

found the singles pretty underwhelming so im not that hyped

HelloJoe
April 20th 2023


978 Comments




@AsleepinTheBack Hi Sleepy!

SteakByrnes
April 20th 2023


29444 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

gn mort

HelloJoe
April 20th 2023


978 Comments


Gn Mort. Sleep well.

Mort.
April 20th 2023


24824 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

im so woke dunno why youre telling me to sleep well

AsleepInTheBack
Staff Reviewer
April 20th 2023


9741 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

shut the fuck up mort and go to sleep. jeez.

iChuckles
April 20th 2023


647 Comments


Singles were so good, rest was kinda meh. Okay record overall.

onionbubs
April 20th 2023


19780 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is growing on me might bump up. leap into lightning owns



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