Bob Dylan in a bobble-hat:
While most 15-year-olds would be forgiven for writing songs about micro-scooters or whatever else exercises teenage minds, Declan McKenna turned for inspiration to the lesser explored subject of Fifa’s business ethics. The result, Brazil, became first a YouTube hit and then a chart sensation.
A similar level of substance informs most of the tracks on his long-awaited debut: Isombard, for instance, attacks the malignant influence of the right-wing media, while Bethlehem tackles the thorny issue of religious fundamentalism.
Lest this sound overly worthy, McKenna sugars his social conscience with a finely tuned ear for an infectious hook, and the album’s indie-inflected guitars jangle with youthful exuberance – an effect enhanced by the snippets of childhood conversation that pop up between songs.
A minor classic from a potential major talent.
This review first appeared in the Irish News