Saturday, December 2, 2023
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Enter Shikari – A Kiss for the Whole World Review

Enter Shikari offer up a sloppy old smooch to the world with A Kiss for the Whole World. Their kiss brings a foul stench and their teeth have fallen onto loose lips. Listeners, with a mouthful of Hertfordshire-born teeth, are trapped in an awkward spot, reliving the nostalgia and swallowing the wisdom to face up to a toothless grin or to spit it out in disgust and ask why Enter Shikari have not called home since before the world locked itself down. Boisterous and thunderous, Enter Shikari embrace their trancecore roots but mistiming it proves fatal for the brain. These are not the triumphant, screeching cries of rallying thunder they could have been. They are something better. 

Muddled mistakes and interplay of a sincere but flummoxed style come through for these long-serving post-hardcore people. Opening track A Kiss for the Whole World x starts well enough with triumphant brass but devolves somewhat when someone starts making that trumpet effect with their own mouth. It is over before you know it and, in its place, comes a fantastic, lyrically-well developed track. Brass band trancecore. Who would have thought it? Enter Shikari have the benefit of nostalgia, but even removing that feel for a childhood memory, for those that have it that is, makes no real difference to the merits of A Kiss for the Whole World’s production. Acapella tones mixed in with what Skrillex was doing a decade ago mark tracks like (pls) set me on fire, and the intonation of the text, the lack of caps and the shortening of “please”, roots it right in the mid-2000s. 

But why leave that warm blanket of youth behind? Be their excavator, as that second track begs. Digging up Enter Shikari and shuffling their best bits into the harsh light of day is a wild experience. It Hurts makes a statement in of itself, the desire to change but being unable to. Enter Shikari offer up what their fans want and do well enough with it. Sail those ships into Bermuda, as Leap into the Lightning cries for. It is in those moments of lyrically engaged, instrumentally connected moments that A Kiss for the Whole World comes to life. But Enter Shikari mark a wishy-washy failure to move their sound on to that next level. Where there should be some contemplation or exciting new step is just a heavy dose of trancecore, where reflective tracks could have propped up an album worthy of the band’s longevity. 

A Kiss for the Whole World does try to reach those lofty heights of something new. But their something new is to traipse through a genre and sound new to them but not their listeners. Scattershot, trance feels on feed yøur søul are brief, blunt and empty. It, like many of the other tracks on here, gives the promise of building somewhere and running out of steam after just a few seconds of unique mental excursion. Haunted orchestras on Dead Wood are broken by a dull and jolting scream. Enter Shikari fear change. They told listeners as much on (pls) set me on fire. Flimsy trance hype paired with scattered moments of potential. Every track a mixed bag, but Bloodshot showcases the clear problems.  goldfish ~, too, represents the trouble of this. A bundle of ideas, no clue on how to stick them together and because of that Enter Shikari fall back on unremarkable styles and stock filters. 

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadowhttps://cultfollowing.co.uk/
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet
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