At only 21 years of age, England’s Declan McKenna has already captured the imagination of music listeners worldwide. A singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, fashion influencer, and champion of LGBTQ+ rights, he is one of the more special talents to emerge onto radio in recent years. First making a splash back in 2015 with his song “Brazil,” 2017 saw the release of his acclaimed debut album, What Do You Think About the Car?. Now, 2020 finds McKenna looking to turn even more heads with his latest full-length collection, Zeros.
Released on Friday, September 4th through Columbia Records, much like many albums in 2020, Zeros was pushed back due to COVID-19. Finally arriving after striking big with the lead single “Beautiful Faces,” the latest album consists of 10 songs that dive into the world of Britpop and Glam Rock, all while fitting comfortably within the realm of Alternative Rock music. Dressed in metaphors and clever lyrical approaches, McKenna stimulates the senses in a very intelligent manner. Clearly taking influence from the British Rock that came before him – whether it be The Beatles, David Bowie, or even Oasis – Zeros is a trip of epic proportions that will entice listeners of all ages to take a closer look.
First kicking off with the energetic “You Better Believe!!!,” McKenna keeps the mood diverse with the piano-driven single “Be an Astronaut” and psychedelic “The Key to Life on Earth,” before unleashing the spectacularly irresistible “Beautiful Faces.” Then, amidst the ride, there are other compelling moments with the introduction of “Daniel, You’re Still a Child,” the harmonized “Emily,” dazzling “Twice Your Size,” and danceable “Rapture.” And finishing off the album strongly “Sagittarius A*,” along with “Eventually, Darling,” draw even more vivid pictures thanks to colorful instrumentation and dazzling lyrical annotation.
Overall, Zeros showcases the musical talents of an artist who is growing at an accelerated rate. The music itself is lively, catchy, and bright; matched with Rock guitars, synth/keys, and delicate textures. This is while the words McKenna speaks are a compelling look at today’s youth, life in general, and the conflicts of the modern world. In many ways his style is Pop, in others it is Rock, but in all ways it is art.
For those who were turned on to his music some time ago, Zeros is what you have been waiting for. For others who are just discovering the bright, young star, Zeros is an album that bridges the gap between the classic British Pop Rock of yesteryear and today, and one that you have been waiting for. That is why Cryptic Rock gives this album 4.5 out of 5 stars.