Review: Declan McKenna – What Do You Think About The Car?

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A stunning debut album, which will likely be played on repeat during the entirety of your summer.

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Not many 18-year-olds can boast three Glastonbury performances and a place on the BBC’s Sound of 2017 list. I must admit when I found out Declan McKenna‘s age it gave me that pang of stress you get when you see someone younger than you and more successful than you’ll ever be – if age is anything to go by, I should be on my second album by now. That being said, What Do You Think About The Car? is truly a great debut album which mixes guitar, drums and synths to make a sound completely signature and with tracks which you should add to your summer playlist right now.

‘Humongous’ serves as a brilliant opener, starting off as a typical indie track until 3:49 where it crescendos into a hybrid of what has been heard previously, demonstrating from the get-go that McKenna is not your conventional artist. Similarly, on first listen, ‘Brazil’ can be taken as a boppy pop track, yet it actually talks of corruption in football.

Politics is something plainly present on the album. In an interview with The Edge, McKenna discussed how it’s something he’s “always going to talk about”, with “now being a greater time than ever to do so”. Not exclusive to ‘Brazil’, in ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’ the theme of young people’s exclusion from political debate takes a focus, and ‘Paracetamol’ addresses the struggles of the transgender community whilst highlighting McKenna’s lyrical strengths. Closing the album, ‘Listen To Your Friends’ leaves us with the statement, “The problem arose when the rich man suggested it”. Unmistakably, What Do You Think About The Car? has influences from our current political climate.

Tracks like ‘Make Me Your Queen’ and ‘Isombard’ stand out as great indie songs. Reminiscent of Bombay Bicycle Club but more amplified, the former talks of unrequited love, with McKenna’s voice excelling here with an echo of support from female vocals; the latter showcases clever incorporation of synths into the classic indie guitar-and-drums combo. Think video game music meets traditional indie.

What Do You Think About The Car? is one of those albums which is likely to be the soundtrack to your summer – equally suitable for late summer walks with your headphones or day trips with friends in the car, its warm tone radiates. That being said, I’m not sure how fun listening to it would be whilst you wait in the rain for your bus. With his debut, McKenna has produced an album for adolescence; one which makes you feel like the summer has finally arrived, even if the British weather doesn’t match up to it.

What Do You Think About The Car? is out now via Sony Music

 

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Records Editor at The Edge. Also a third year English and History student who has an unhealthy obsession with Foals.

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