After making a bid for the bigtime with The Spark’s radio-friendly anthems and reigned-in compositions, Nothing is True & Everything is Possible returns to Enter Shikari’s winning formula of ambition and raw emotion. The choruses are still huge – one listen to lead single { The Dreamer’s Hotel } is all it takes for it to become an earworm – but now they’re spread across disparate influences placed alongside each other, deftly leaping from a rave to a waltz, tied together with raging, sincere, and introspective lyrics which act as a State of the Nation address.

The pulsing introductory track, THE GREAT UNKNOWN, captures the socio-political anxiety of 2020, asking “Is this a new beginning? Or are we close to the end?” The record toys with fake news over an oom-pa-pa accompaniment (Waltzing off the Face of the Earth’s “Regardless what you feel, this song isn’t real, and the earth isn’t sphere”) and wide-eyed optimism when all else fails, quoting Samuel Beckett’s “fail better” on the uplifting Crossing the Rubicon.

Pacing is one of Shikari’s strong points. Reprise 3 is a small breather looking back where the band came from, while Elegy For Extinction’s epic instrumentation is an ode to the earth and all its species in their glory, but how manmade climate change has led to 60% of their extinction too. It’s an evocative piece of wordless and orchestral storytelling, and for the album’s graceful structure it’s a pivotal moment.

Nothing is True & Everything is Possible is a record in search of the self within society, wondering how to make that self self-conscious. { The Dreamer’s Hotel } is about having the option to imagine something better but choosing to endlessly fight instead. th? k?ñg is about the absurdity of our rage, obsessed with self-image while unaware of how tragic that image is, as Rou Reynolds sings “I wrap my sword and swing, but I go and pull my hamstring.”

Across fifteen tracks there’s little repetition in mood, texture, or lyrical content, sounding like Enter Shikari unrestricted by limitations on what that sound can be and what they can say with the sound they choose. When they dare to have imagination like they’ve done so here, they wind up with something special, like 2015’s The Mindsweep, their most realised record to date. Nothing is True… just might be coming for The Mindsweep’s crown.

Nothing is True & Everything is Possible is out now, via Ambush Reality