Enter Shikari have a way with opening statements and as their new album begins with the words “Be embraced, billions” (‘A Kiss for the Whole World x’), we immediately learn plenty about the band’s ambition for this album to touch people. Its trio of whirlwind single releases to date have reignited dormant sparks (‘(pls) set me on fire’), confronted how we measure self-worth (‘It Hurts’) and eyed the trappings of cyclical mistakes (‘Bloodshot’). Journeying through the new album, we are met with calls to revel in the power of spontaneity, (‘Leap Into The Lightning’), encouraged to explore (‘Jailbreak’), and – most poignantly – asked to consider the changing nature of identity (‘giant pacific octopus’).
For Enter Shikari, rejuvenation, resilience and resurrection have been on the agenda as they’ve been introducing the new songs to huge audiences in the UK, Europe, US and Japan on a series of innovative live residency dates this Spring. This summer the band returns to bring their incendiary live show to the headline slot at Slam Dunk Festival in what is their only UK festival appearance of 2023. Slam Dunk Festival takes place across two sites in Leeds and Hatfield on the 27th and 28th May, respectively.
A Kiss for the Whole World heralds the band’s most vibrant, direct and life-affirming album so far.
Lead vocalist and producer Rou Reynolds says: “I’m so excited to let this beast out into the wild! It’s such a vibrant album, a cocktail of emotions and I can’t wait for people to delve in.
Judging on the way the tracks we’ve played live so far are going down, I think it’s really gonna connect with people.”
Watch the brand-new video for the album’s title-track ‘A Kiss for the Whole World x’ below.
As the calendar now signals three years since Enter Shikari last released an album – their UK #2 charting album Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible – it is useful to think back to the final question the band last posed fans: “Is this a new beginning? / Or are we close to the end?” Little could they know just how close to the end things would end up feeling as the events of the early ‘20s dimmed the light in the furnace of their live juggernaut, and connection to their fans. “At the time it felt like we ourselves, as musicians, were experiencing the death of our band,” says lead vocalist and keyboardist Rou Reynolds.
Unsurprisingly, the key in the band’s ignition came in the form of a live show as they headlined the Download Festival Pilot in front of 10,000 fans. Where not a single new word flowed from the pen of Reynolds in the two years prior, a realisation was born that would come to define the band’s seventh LP: “I just didn’t realise that the human and physical connection to other people were so central to how I write,” he says. Enter Shikari isn’t just four people – it’s hundreds of thousands.
The album’s lead single ‘(pls) set me on fire’ sparked the next stage in the band’s evolution, and the first words we hear from Enter Shikari 2.0 don’t come in the form of a question this time, but a command: “Please set me on fire”. In other words, ignite the spark inside us and set us free. This may be a new Enter Shikari but they’ve lost nothing in their flair for bold opening gambits.
Reynolds comments on the single’s conception: “Honestly, I thought I was f*****. I’ve never felt so detached from my soul, my purpose, my f****** spirit. I didn’t write music for almost two years. The longest I’d gone before that was two weeks. I was broken. It’s almost as if my brain had asked: “What is the point in music if it cannot be shared? What is the point in writing music if it’s not to be experienced with others?” and then promptly switched itself off. ‘(pls) set me on fire’ grew out of that desperation. This song is a projectile vomit of positive energy. Every emotion trapped inside me for two years, finally set free.”
It was in the Spring of 2022 that the band descended to the coastal town of Chichester, and a delipidated farmhouse, to rebuild their studio setup and capture their renewed momentum on record. Using only solar power to track the album – in what Reynolds says was to “bring back some sense of naivety” – the life-giving properties and Technicolor palate of A Kiss for the Whole World were made real. Reynolds continues: “Back to basics. This band – my best friends – bundled into an old farmhouse, miles away from anywhere. Off-grid, and ready to rediscover ourselves. This album is powered by the sun, the most powerful object in our solar system. And I think you can tell. It’s a collection of songs that represent an explosive reconnection with what Enter Shikari is. The beginning of our second act”.