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Declan McKenna Zeros

On his sophomore record, prodigal indie pin-up Declan McKenna offers a critique of hyper-consumerism from outer space.

Released: 4 September 2020
Zeros

On his debut album What Do You Think About the Car?, Declan McKenna immersed himself in the indie boy trope of tackling big topics through song. While his peers Sam Fender and Rex Orange County were writing about classism and mental health, McKenna was exploring the similar worlds of religion and gender. Zeros sees McKenna prolong this approach to writing. Yet this time round, his lyrics are symbolic instead of being literal rallying cries for change.

The opening track ‘You Better Believe!!!’ introduces the dystopian outer space universe which the album is set in. The jangly melody fittingly represents McKenna’s notion that this world is one where people find comfort in “impending doom”. The track describes an asteroid charging towards earth, leaving people with nothing but the hyper-consumerism triggered by capitalism. The following song, ‘Be an Astronaut’, sees McKenna take inspiration from early seventies Bowie - the crescendo of the piano particularly resembles ‘Life On Mars’.

Thankfully, Zeros refrains from becoming a Bowie rip-off by drawing inspiration from other eras. On ‘Rapture’ McKenna draws influence from the noughties electronic scene, with the track bearing similarities to The Chemical Brothers. While some may believe being so transparent with musical influences is a drawback, the record ultimately pushes the boundaries McKenna created for himself with his debut. Zeros shows that he’s far more diverse than the sea of other white boys with guitars who dominate the British indie scene.