Editors’ Notes Enter Shikari’s fifth album, 2017’s The Spark, was frontman Rou Reynolds’ response to personal and global turmoil. And while the English rave punks’ follow-up comes from a more stable place, it doesn’t pull any punches in its exploration of human possibility—both good and evil. “People normally hear ‘possibility’ and think of positivity and motivation,” Reynolds tells Apple Music. “What’s happened in the last five years means the word now has a disconcerting edge to it.” So, too, does Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible—a record of big sounds and big questions, featuring references to Enter Shikari’s musical past and our complicated future. Here, Reynolds navigates us through, track by track.

“It’s in at the deep end, dealing with the disorientating nature of the unknown. The opening piano section is a recording taken off my phone from about six years ago. It almost made it onto our [2015] album The Mindsweep, but it didn’t feel right until now. That leads into a rave synth, with rave culture being one of the biggest influences on the album.”

Crossing the Rubicon
“This is one of the most outwardly positive tracks on the record. It has a little Easter-eggy callback to a synth from the track ‘Labyrinth’ from our first album [2007’s Take to the Skies]. ‘Labyrinth’ was about navigating through life’s hardships, and that’s what this track is about too. The title comes from Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon in the north of Italy, as that was perceived as an act of war. This song is therefore about taking bolder steps and keep facing forward.”

{ The Dreamer’s Hotel }
“We wanted to create two different atmospheres on this track. The verses look at the fury and bitterness of outrage culture, so they’re devoid of harmony and feature some really gnarly drums. The chorus, however, offers a glimpse of this place—this hotel—where we can all have patience and dream again, and have actual conversations, so it features an explosion of harmony.”

Waltzing off the Face of the Earth (I. Crescendo)
“It’s the bleakest point on the record. It’s also a track that’s most focused on the Everything Is True part of the album’s title, because lyrically it’s a list of lies put forward as truths. We wanted to create something with the music that conveys that idea too, so it has a tempo that’s slightly disconcerting. It’s at the pace of a waltz, which isn’t a comforting time signature for most people today.”

modern living….
“This is when the record is at its most frivolous and tongue-in-cheek. It’s us making fun of ourselves and that mindset we can have where every setback feels like it’s the end of the world.”

apøcoholics anonymøus (main theme in B minor)
“That title is a play on words about those who are addicted to the apocalypse. We thought it was a funny thing to make a track about. Unless it’s a ballad, I tend to write stuff that’s high-energy, so I set myself a goal of creating something at a low tempo. It has a plodding swagger to it, but I think it will really go off live.”

the pressure’s on.
“It’s the most plainly personal track on the record, so I don’t think it would have been too out of place on The Spark. It’s about dealing with the pressures that come at you from society or your peers. You’re supposed to know the job you want to do by the time you finish school, and you’re supposed to be married and have kids by a certain point. It’s addressing those feelings of anxiety, about not knowing what you want.”

Reprise 3
“It’s nice to break up the structure of a record, and interludes are a good way to comfortably ease you into new themes and areas of sound. These same chords were used at the start of [2009 album] Common Dreads, and more subtly used on [2012’s] A Flash Flood of Colour. It’s a nostalgic little tease.”

“It stands for There Is No Alternative. Thematically, this track is closely related to ‘THE GREAT UNKNOWN.’ It’s about the stunting of thought. Musically, this wouldn’t sound out of place on our first album, which was a conscious decision at the start of this album—we wanted it to be definitive, and feature little tips of the hat to every era of the band.”

Elegy for Extinction
“This is a track about climate change. There’s always at least one track on all of our albums that tries to address it. This time around, I wanted to try and tell a story with only music. It’s an instrumental, what they call ‘program form’ in classical music, where the music itself is taking the narrative forward. Rather ambitiously, the narrative for this one is the story of life on earth, from the big bang and the birth of life, continuing to get bigger, up to the modern day and the horrific stuff that’s happened, such as losing 60 percent of [animal populations] to extinction. It’s one of the heaviest points on the album, even though it’s an orchestral piece.”

Marionettes (I. The Discovery of Strings)
“There are so many changes to this track. It starts out with music that’s like something out of a black-and-white western film, before going into a massive breakbeat, synth rhythm rush with falsetto vocals. There’s a lot going on.”

Marionettes (II. The Ascent)
“The story told in these two tracks is of puppets neglected by their master, who discover their strings and then want to climb them. In this second part, the puppets have begun climbing up them. The final lyric of this track is ‘Truth hurts, but truth frees,’ which suggests it’s always better to know the truth and regain some sense of control. It’s grappling with themes we’ve dealt with before, but from a science fiction angle.”

satellites* *
“It’s a breath of fresh air after the heavy stuff that’s come before it. It’s similar to ‘Crossing the Rubicon’ in that it has a burst of positivity and color to it. It’s about having to deal with emotions that a lot of people don’t have to think about. It’s about empathizing with situations we’ve never been in, like those experienced by minorities. It’s a love song from the perspective of someone who doesn’t feel they can show their love properly because of fear.”

thē kĭñg
“It’s very upbeat and has tongue-in-cheek moments, looking at the ridiculous nature of revenge. It’s got silly lyrics, like ‘I used to be a charmer/But now there’s holes in my armor’ and ‘I grab my sword and swing/But I go and pull my hamstring,’ which is meant to show we’re all trying to be tough, but that rarely goes to plan, so we end up looking pathetic.”

Waltzing off the Face of the Earth (II. Piangevole)
“The first part of this is the bleakest point on the album, so I thought it would be nice to return to it with the same themes and the same chords, but just brighten it up. It’s not really optimistic, though it leaves the door open, leaving the ending up to you. It’s a slightly uplifting, but hopefully not saccharine, conclusion to the album.”

Crossing The Rubicon
{ The Dreamer’s Hotel }
Waltzing Off the Face of the Earth (I. Crescendo)
modern living….
apøcaholics anonymøus (main theme in B minor)
the pressure’s on.
Reprise 3
Elegy For Extinction
Marionettes (I. The Discovery of Strings)
Marionettes (II. The Ascent)
satellites* *
thē kĭñg
Waltzing Off the Face of the Earth (II. Piangevole)

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