My favourite song at the moment is ‘Paracetamol’, so I thought it would be relevant to talk about the artist behind the magic: Declan McKenna. If you haven’t heard of him already, Declan is a seventeen year old indie singer/songwriter from Hertfordshire, England. After winning the Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Prize last year, Declan’s profile on the indie music scene has been increasing. The young artist is represented by 13, the same management company as the much-loved Foals.
Declan has a very humble, independent approach to his music; his first single ‘Brazil’ was self-released in 2015. The song received controversial feedback as it had underlying references to the poverty in Brazil during the FIFA world cup. Despite Declan being young, his political, mature lyrics are one aspect that I admire about his music. Not only this, but the slinky, lo-fi tones in the track are stunning to listen to. The track has a catchy tune and lyrics to ensure the powerful message sticks in your head. ‘Brazil’ reached number one in the Alternative charts in January 2016 after playing a wide range of festivals in the summer of 2015.
November 2015 was the self-release of his second single ‘Paracetamol’ which also had a deep, meaningful message. The song discusses the struggle and misrepresentation of teens in the media- with hard hitting lyrics to empower the strong topic. The simple yet gorgeous melody instils a raw and pure sound to the track, which I absolutely love. Declan’s vocals carry out the bruised and vulnerable emotions in the lyrics beautifully, paired with the almost haunting keyboard and steady drum beat, the track possesses a musical translation of the experiences of troubled teens.
The other singles Declan has released are ‘Basic’ and ‘Brew’, both of which maintain the high standard of sultry electro indie music. ‘Brew’ possesses a beautiful guitar riff throughout which compliments the soft vocals. The song has a dark electro sound that you wouldn’t expect to work but simply does! The slow pace to his music adds to the obscurity and originality of his material; I find it impossible to get bored of Declan’s songs. ‘Basic’ also makes use of a chill band of guitar, keyboard and drums with a repetitive tune of simple verse and chorus of muffled vocals and has a very stripped-back feel.
Having material which is so far from mainstream makes it impossible to compare Declan McKenna to any other artist out there at the moment. It is also difficult to pin-point an exact sound bracket that he falls under, because it seems to me he has created his own. Declan’s music seems to take a typical classic indie rock sound and transform it with elctro vibes and striking chords to modernise old-school indie.
I have so much respect for Declan as an artist; using his talent and passion for music to amplify important issues is an admirable way to prolifically use his ability. Not only does he supply amazing, different sounds, but his lyrics are gorgeously painful and insightful. I cannot wait until I have the opportunity to go to one of Declan’s gigs and experience the magic for real! I see big things for him in the future and cannot wait to hear new material very soon.