It takes twelve seconds of listening to British Bombs to know you’re listening to a Declan McKenna song. The building drums leading into the cheerful, theatrical rhythmic beat, its got McKenna magic all over it.

For any artist, it’s impressive to have a sound so sure and defining. But for Declan, who is 20 years old and yet to release his (much anticipated) second album, it’s incredible.

Incredible, but not surprising.

Declan is no stranger to doing things that’ll have you double checking how long he has been making music. With a stage presence that rivals those who have been performing for decades, and a debut album that’d have you believing the same thing, he’s already establishing himself as one of the best.

Talent and charisma aren’t the only things he has a generous dose of though, he’s also got courage. And that has never been as evident as it is with British Bombs….

So many artists manage to span a career avoiding any sensitive, political or controversial subjects, and for them that might be fine, but it’s been evident since day one that is not how Declan does things – and I’m eternally thankful that he doesn’t. He’s here to shine a light on all things wrong with the world, in a way that makes us listen.

Every second of the song is thought through, the previously mentioned intro sounds like a caricature of old ‘Great Britain,’ conjuring images of cream tea and Beefeater guards. Which when followed with the opening lines “Great snakes, are we moving already?/Good gravy, did you say it cost a penny or two for you?” sets the tone of the track. And that is quite literally, only the start.

The entire song pokes fun at the contradictory nature of Britain and our obsession with greatness – regardless of the consequences.

No lines express this better than “One day each year, a worry/We shall remember the dead/And we’ll remember the dead so they know that we’re sorry/But then carry on!” It seems ridiculous when said out loud, but that doesn’t make it any less true. And it is a step in the right direction that someone with an influence over a whole new generation, such as Declan, is going out of his way to actually say it out loud.

One of the tracks greatest qualities, is how it evolves as it progresses.

Starting off with stereotypical prim and proper British slang ‘great snakes!’ exclaimed in a jolly, sing song rhythm, and working its way up to finish with more rugged, desperate cries of “And if it’s not a fucking outrage, what’s it all about then?” was no accident. The whole thing feels like a euphemism for a country, more focused on image than rising crime rates and putting an end to its death toll. The clean-cut image fades away into a climax of emotion, anger and confusion, which is all too fitting for the current state of the world.

After listening to the song, it is hard not to want to make a change, in any way you can. It is both destroying and empowering, which is something we need more of. Best of all, it is an all-round banger.

Declan is back and he’s better than ever.

Featured Image Credit: Frank Fieber

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