The Student
Declan McKenna delivers the perfect indie-rock the world needs
by Craig Buchan, 14/10/20


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Things have been pretty bad for a while now, and apparently both the government and the university are hell bent on making them even worse. So, it is a good thing Declan McKenna’s new album Zeros slaps hard. It might just be the only thing that keeps you going right now.

It is no understatement to label McKenna as one of the hottest prospects in British indie-pop and he certainly delivers with this album, with one quality track after the other. ‘You Better Believe’ kicks off the album in the perfect way. A track about the absurdity of the modern world, it sets up the rest of the album to play off that theme.

There is a distinct sci-fi element present in McKenna’s latest work. The guitar sounds positively space-age throughout the album but most noticeably in ‘Daniel, You’re Still a Child’, with the intergalactic vibes going beyond the individual instruments. There is an adventurous swagger about the album, almost like you’re exploring a foreign planet.

This album will get you up and dancing around your room. The energy of this album spills out the aux, and there is no need to try and clean it up. This is possibly the most air-guitarable album of 2020 and you just have to roll with it. 

There is certainly a personal touch from Declan, something that was lacking in his previous works. Zeros is political without being activist, and although he is happy for you to make up your own mind, he is ready to speak his, particularly making his opinion known on “Mrs Thatcher” known in ‘Rapture’. 

But despite the clear reflection of Declan’s individual personality and creative vision, this is much more than an individual effort. The band plays a big part, and it results in a beautiful indie rock and roll sound.

In an interview with Dork, McKenna said: “A lot of the album was inspired by people on the outskirts,” and that appeal comes across in his sound and lyrics. Everyone feels a little bit like an outcast right now, and so this album perhaps strikes more of a chord than it otherwise would. It feels like McKenna is making music for people that are a little bit different and like it that way. Or maybe for people that feel like society was not built for them and are looking for somewhere to turn. Ultimately, Zeros is indie rock for indie people. 

So, you must give this album a listen. It will lift you up a blast of space-age energy in a time of teenage dystopia. Powerful and anthemic, this album will not disappoint Declan McKenna fans and will most likely have plenty of new fans flying his flag.

Image: Roberto Ricciuti via Getty Images