McKenna will soon be turning 19 the young man has been building to this release since he was 17 at least when he won the coveted Glastonbury Emerging Talent award at the 2015 festival. So it has been awaited by his fanbase and critics since then how does it sound?
Brazil is the single that seemed to begin his rise and McKenna being branded the ‘voice of a generation’ which is a weighty label to have put on you at such a young age. The reason that music critics stated that was because of the subject matter in a number of his songs including Brazil, a dig at Sepp Blatter and FIFA’s corruption/dealings with the 2014 World Cup. Aside from the lyrical content the musicianship is very good, poppy (the acoustic bridge especially), refreshingly indie and very modern sounding. Picking up on the reversed psychedelic guitar line reminiscent of the criminally under ratted Johnny Squire (The Stone Roses/Seahorses).
Make Me Your Queen is a contender for the best song of the album certainly out of the tracks that are not singles (6 by the time of the release) here McKenna shows his artsy side as the chorus’ vocals are dowsed in reverb giving a grand dreamy quality. One that is echoed in his videos which are glittery and have him all face painted up (Brazil 2nd Video for example) Bowie-esc channelling the legend in both sound and visuals on a number of occasions.
Isombard again a large single that only drew more deserved attention to McKenna a fantastic performance of Isombard (can be found via the link provided) on the legendary Later With Jools Holland where he again added to that ‘he is the voice of a generation’ label by wearing a give 17 year olds the vote. A song that is very 1980’s with a great keyboard line, falsetto highs with oooohs following the sung title word. It is addictively and catchy it’ll spend a lot of time in your ears for sure.
Some have criticised the interjections between a couple of tracks from some of the children’s choir that sing on The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home when one child has questions about why the kids not wanting to go home, McKenna failing to explain it and giving up. There are a few parts in Brazil also bit I think that they are not irritating but I can see why some people would find them so.
This debut is beautifully British Declan McKenna has come out with a really great album that is both sophisticated yet accessible it isn’t too arty or opinionated the balance is perfect.
But as he said in an interview with FaceCulture this is not going to be his best album. If that is true then going off the strength of What Do You Think About the Car? What comes next is beyond exciting.