You Better Believe!!! Declan Mckenna has bestowed the brand new album Zeros, and my God is it good. Following in the footsteps of debut “What Do You Think of the Car?” Zeros is already on the path to being the voice of its generation.
The 10 track album packs punch after punch, with Declan’s strengths of lyrics and melodies bouncing off each other so well, it’s clear that even at the age of 21 there’s a huge career ahead. This body of work is politically charged, it’s euphoric and most importantly it’s headline-worthy. A brave album from a doomed youth, born into a mess they did not create.
A song that really drives this message home is Beautiful Faces which is the first single released from Zeros.
Declan describes Beautiful Faces as “A big song…scary big.” This track feels like it was released at just the right time. Lyrics of ‘Tonight I’m good staying inside” and then flowing into lyrics of wanting to celebrate events like St Patrick’s Day, are surely a lockdown feeling we’ve all experienced. Perhaps Declan’s futurist vibes go further than the bass and synth of the music?
If you’re not aware/familiar with the works of Declan, I would simply describe it as the work of a very intelligent human. Rising to the attention of the music gods in 2014 after writing Brazil, a song about the 2014 Fifa World Cup, Declan established a loyal following by calling out the corruption of having the games in a poverty-stricken country instead of celebrating the “beautiful game.” Listening to Declan’s lyrics in Zeros is so reminiscent of the Brazil days, but this time the screams are louder, the drums are harder and the rhyming is next level….a favourite being Rapture, referencing Mrs Thatcher…. Declan’s lyrics have never been shy of saying it how it is and calling out injustice. We see from Zeros topics of dystopian realities, anxiety and post truth. “WDYTOTC” was nostalgic and reminiscent, Zeros is a brutal look in the mirror at a world we’ve entered.
Released through mega label Columbia Records, Zeros was recorded out in Nashville, produced by Jay Joyce and mixed by Spike Stent. From the first beat of opening track You Better Believe, we can hear little musical tributes to icons past and present. Space themes and futuristic references that the Star Man himself would be proud of meets happy/sad guitar riffs any The Cure fan could envision Robert Smith playing.
If you thought Declan’s music is unique you’re in for a treat watching the plethora of music videos released from tracks on Zeros. Beautiful Faces is a sky-scraping hallucination directed by Will Hooper (Idles, Slaves, Marika Hackman). A personal favourite for me is the video to “The Key to Life on Earth” showing that sometimes two heads are not better than one, with doppelganger and Netflix’s End Of The F**king World Alex Lawther starring alongside the singer. Declan’s visuals, much like the music, are a perfect mixture of past and future, meaning it can exist in any time and still be brilliant.
Zeros’ future shines as bright as the glitter under Declan’s eyes. If there’s been an album released recently that’s topping my “need to see live” list, it’s this one for sure.
Watch the video for Zeros sky-scraping hallucination of Beautiful Faces. here, directed by Will Hooper (Idles, Slaves, Marika Hackman).
As part of his UK tour, Declan McKenna is at Leeds 02 Academy on 8 April 2021.
Image provided by Chuff Media.