Declan McKenna’s fusion of classic indie à la The Cure and Circa Waves’ summer vibes encapsulate the contemporary scene of youthful indie rock. McKenna’s music captures the essence of teenage angst – The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home encapsulates the voiceless generation of today’s youth while Isombard serves as an anthem for young people’s frustration with political injustices. ‘I’ve got a seat in heaven / And though I’m heaven sent / I can do as I want and you don’t have the right to choose’, McKenna sings in single Bethlehem epitomising rebellion against religion while he dedicates Paracetamol to a transgender teen who committed suicide after being sent to Christian conversion therapy. Listening to McKenna’s upbeat tunes, one might not instantly realise that their narrative is criticising injustice.
The 18-year old made news in 2015 after winning Glastonbury Festival’s Emerging Talent Competition. Things have been looking up for McKenna since. He signed with Columbia later that year after being pursued by over 40 record companies. McKenna not only made quite a name for himself among indie fans, but he also articulated much acclaim for releasing music as young as 16 years old, with BBC Music praising him for being a ‘fresh and intelligent voice in indie-pop, unafraid to tackle the big topics’. The singer is very consistent with whatever it is he’s passionate about, which includes speaking his mind and wearing dungarees (after all they’re comfortable, versatile, and look good with anything – or so he tells BBC).
You can catch McKenna (and his dungarees) in Bristol on the 15th of May as part of his UK tour supported by GIRLI. Much like McKenna himself, this tour seems promisingly memorable. With dazzling indie melodies accompanied by fierce lyrics serving as an emphatic focal point for teenage frustration, Declan McKenna proves that you’re never too young, or too stylish, to speak your mind.