Enter Shikari's A Kiss For The Whole World: the electrifying, genre-smashing sound of the future

St. Albans quartet stake their claim as one of the 21st century's greatest bands with their finest work yet

A Kiss For The Whole World
(Image: © So Recordings)

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Perhaps the only true upside of recorded music having become an endless buffet at which diners are allowed to eat for free – while the chefs themselves are paid in pennies – is the reduction to rubble of boundaries that once kept genres and styles codified and confined. As the 21st Century approaches its first chorus, there has emerged a wave of groups - Nova Twins, Bob Vylan and Hot Milk, to name just three – possessed of the ability to mix sounds and schools with a fluency that is more first nature than second. And good for them.

But hold on, because back in the mists of time, before the advent of Spotify, there arrived a band who were the first on the British block to marry styles with the seamlessness of a sorcerer. What’s more, as Enter Shikari celebrate their 20th birthday, these trailblazers continue this task uninterrupted. Not for them the truism that a band generally produces its best work within its first seven or eight years – and certainly within its first decade – or the notion that encroaching age will inevitably rob music-makers of appetite and edge.  A Kiss For The Whole World might just be its authors' finest work yet. Rooted in the present, somehow it is still the sound of the future. 

Arriving from behind the cloud of an airborne toxic event that separated artists and audiences from the things that make life worth living, the album beats with the pulse of what was lost, and is now regained. Immediacy. Intimacy. Community. Belonging. “I infiltrate every part of your mind, under my influence, I’m completely subliminal,” sings frontman and principal songwriter Rou Reynolds on the electrifying Goldfish. “I miss the unbearable weight of tenderness,” is just one of the fine lines from the exquisitely judged Deadwood.

At times, as is expected, the band themselves bleep and blast their way through music that defies definition. But Enter Shikari are more than a whirlwind of chaos, more than the sound of an ice-cream van enduring a nervous breakdown. The peaks and valleys visited on the rousingly electronic It Hurts, for example, are not the work of trigger-happy music makers. The dynamic perfection of the title track is the sound of a union that knows the ropes well. 

As much as anything, though, A Kiss For The Whole World is about seeing the wonder in things that might otherwise be taken for granted. In related news, Enter Shikari are one of the great bands of the 21st Century.

Ian Winwood
Freelance Writer

Barnsley-born author and writer Ian Winwood contributes to The Telegraph, The Times, Alternative Press and Times Radio, and has written for Kerrang!, NME, Mojo, Q and Revolver, among others. His favourite albums are Elvis Costello's King Of America and Motorhead's No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith. His favourite books are Thomas Pynchon's Vineland and Paul Auster's Mr Vertigo. His own latest book, Bodies: Life and Death in Music, is out now on Faber & Faber and is described as "genuinely eye-popping" by The Guardian, "electrifying" by Kerrang! and "an essential read" by Classic Rock. He lives in Camden Town.