Some 18-year-olds don’t have a lot to say about the world, but Declan McKenna isn’t your typical teenager. The rising star has already won Glastonbury Unsigned by a landslide, signed to Columbia Records and played sold-out shows across the country to rave reviews.
His James Ford-produced debut album, ‘What Do You Think About The Car?’, is filled with observational lyrics not dissimilar to Alex Turner’s early efforts, adding a layer of depth to its indie-pop tendencies.
Evoking the sound of Jake Bugg — who it is easy to compare McKenna with, given that they share a similar sound and both released their debuts at 18 — radio-friendly production gives ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’ a catchy edge, and clever sampling is reminiscent of early Jamie T. The synths of ‘Mind’ might be slightly Radio 1, but that’s endemic of being signed to a major label.
McKenna really shines on pared-back tune ‘Bethlehem’, and it’d be interesting to hear him explore a more stripped-back sound. For such a young talent, his lyrics are strong, but give him a few more years of life experience and they could be in a different league.
Words: Megan White
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