Everything certainly is possible with Enter Shikari

Photo by Derek Ridgers

“Is this a new beginning?/Or are we close to the end?” The question opens Enter Shikari’s sixth album, Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible. While the world is in the most uncertain position it has been in years, it’s a perfect time for a new album from the English post-hardcore group. The band has never shied away from voicing their opinions on politics, mental health, and the world at large, and in dire times, their music is all the more relevant. 

Frontman Rou Reynolds takes the helm on production and steers these songs to places the band has never been before. Five albums into their career, the band that arguably pioneered the electronicore genre is branching into completely new territory. Something you’d never dream of hearing from them 10 years ago is “Elegy For Extinction.” The classical piece was recorded with the City Of Prague Symphony Orchestra. It’s the most un-Enter Shikari thing the band has ever released, and it’s a beautiful achievement.

This new direction does not come out of left field. Fans started seeing the band’s sound evolve from the messy hardcore influence of their early years (“Sorry, You’re Not a Winner”) around the time of 2015’s The Mindsweep. 2017’s The Spark took an even larger step into a much cleaner pop sound. While the edge was fading, both albums hold some of Enter Shikari’s greatest hits with songs like “Anaesthetist” and “Live Outside.” With Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible they put in more hours than any album before to expand on their new direction and create music that nearly redefines who they are.

The partnering “Waltzing off the Face of the Earth” (I. Crescendo) and (II. Piangevole) restate the sentiment of the album’s title and question the reality of this world. “Regardless what you feel/This song isn’t real/And the earth isn’t sphere/And you’re not really here,” sings Reynolds backed by a horn section. It echoes opinions heard from Jim Carrey over recent years. They may be the most outwardly spoken songs, but the whole album carries an uncertainty of what this world is and who we are.

It all returns to the opening question: “Is this a new beginning?/Or are we close to the end?” Pulled from “THE GREAT UNKNOWN,” the band couldn’t have chosen a better song to kick things off. It’s about as heavy as you’ll hear them get on this and draws from their early years with bright synths and an explosive melody. “Crossing The Rubicon” follows and is immediately comforting with an uplifting and gripping rhythm, along with that Enter Shikari hope-against-all-odds spirit.

Lead single, “{The Dreamer’s Hotel}” is an ear-worm that proves well-suited as the first offering from the new release. A hectic track, it juxtaposes angry verses to convey the furor of our society, with an upbeat chorus that plays the role of this fantasy land known as The Dreamer’s Hotel. “All rooms are vacant” because we’re all too caught up in the discord of our lives. 

“T.I.N.A.” begins the album’s second half led by bouncy synths soon joined by drums and guitar leading into the Enter Shikari version of a dance club breakdown. The song seems wrapped in a political blanket, referencing the phrase most attributed to Victorian philosopher Herbert Spencer and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, “There is no alternative.”

“The king” is a fabulous depiction of pride and revenge based in a medieval context. Over wobbling synths akin to their A Flash Flood Of Colour days, Reynolds displays some of his most engaging and playful songwriting: “Well if it’s revenge you seek then be sure to dig two graves, why?/One for my enemy and fucking one for you, preferably.” 

It’s these core songs that keep the band on that same path, leaving old fans comfortably familiar with their evolving material. As much as this album pushes boundaries, they keep their sound grounded and reliable with hits that are new but still the Enter Shikari we grew to love all those years ago.