Following on from 2020’s Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible, Enter Shikari are peeling back the orchestral embellishment and honing-in on the power of a downright glorious melody. A Kiss For The Whole World is a balancing act of serious discourse and musical mischief. Put simply, it’s Shikari doing what they do best.
Straight out the gates, titular track ‘A Kiss For The Whole World x’ sets the tone; a grandiose fanfare beckons you in, an airy sense of triumph ringing out. It’s the perfect introduction, explaining the records’ mission – to encourage listeners to root themselves in the present, reflect on the here-and-now.
This breezy feel is a constant thread of the record; from ‘(pls) set me on fire’s lofty, neon-spattered electronica, to the infectious, trance-infused tempo of ‘Jailbreak’, there’s a sweaty euphoria captured on the track. Even when instrumentals take on a darker tone, there’s an underlying sense of almost violent optimism, an urgency that longs to shed unnecessary pain and transcend into a weightless state of being.
This transcendental edge builds on long-standing Shikari themes, yet it’s explored further on this latest full-length offering. While records like The Mindsweep or Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible may feel more sonically ambitious, there’s something satisfyingly focused about A Kiss For The Whole World. Tracks approach immense philosophical ideas in a simple, informal, un-intimidating manner; ‘Giant Pacific Octopus (i don’t know you anymore)’ and ‘Jailbreak’s flurried tempos and glistening electronics make the notion of ‘questioning everything’ feel totally exhilarating.
While sonic musings over selfhood have always been a Shikari staple, they’re also delivered with far less cynicism on this record. Rather than revelling in pessimism, A Kiss For The Whole World instead pairs Shikari’s penchant for tongue-in-cheek with a flurry of hopefulness; every whir of negativity is offset by a growl of triumph, an assured sense that any hardship can be overcome.
‘goldfĭsh ~’is a track that takes on perhaps the most cynical tone of the bunch, explore the ever-watchful eyes and control of the powers-that-be. Yet, rather than revelling in the cynicism and negativity, there’s a notably playful Shikari edge (might we take a second to point out the sarcasm of lines like “jesus ain’t gonna save ya, he’s a shit multitasker”).
Perhaps the finest embodiment of the record’s message and sonic palette, however, is ‘Leap Into The Lightning’. Cunning, slithering synthetic transforms into bright, joyous choruses, urging listeners to stop waiting for storms to pass and to simply “leap into the lightning”. The track is the ultimate cry for listeners to just live, to dive straight into any challenge even if they’re apprehensive. The following interlude ‘feed yøur søul’ is delicious, a tasty burst of Shikari Sound System to close off the burst of introspection.
Overall, A Kiss For The Whole World is exactly that: a sonic embodiment of a smooch, a dreamy, uplifting wave of whirring instrumentation. There’s a sense of love stitched into every track, be that the delight that comes with crafting music or a desire to understand and unravel life itself.
It’s less ambitious than certain other Shikari records, but that isn’t a drawback – it actually enhances the experience, making it feel self-contained and comfortably strong in its own right. And, hey, if you’re eager for a dose of self-reflection, you might as well do it with some blisteringly catchy hooks to go with it.