Today, Declan McKenna debuts “Beautiful Faces (Skream Remix)” a new version of the first single from his forthcoming second album, Zeros. The song has been reanimated by Croydon’s renowned DJ and producer Skream, one of the go-to names in electronic music following standout collaborations with the likes of Katy B, Kelis, and La Roux. Skream’s group, Magnetic Man, achieved quick commercial success clocking up number one singles and a number one album in 2010. As a pioneering DJ on R1, Skream was responsible for the rise and rise of the dubstep genre. Listen to “Beautiful Faces (Skream Remix)” here.
McKenna’s second album Zeros will be released on August 21st. The album, produced by Jay Joyce with mixing by Spike Stent, was recorded in Nashville and is his first since his critically acclaimed debut, 2017’s What Do You Think About The Car?, which NPR Music hailed as “a powerful, clever album” and lead Rolling Stone to name him an “Artist You Need to Know.” Said McKenna about Zeros: “In terms of my artistic development, it feels a major step on from my first record. With this album, if I’m performing as a character, I wanted it to give it everything- all the artists that I love like Dylan, Nick Cave or Bowie, are great storytellers because they give their characters really intense, sometimes strange voices.” Declan McKenna’s Zeros is available for pre-order on all formats here.
McKenna recently shared the first single from Zeros, “Beautiful Faces.” The song and video, directed by Will Hopper (Idles, Slaves, Marika Hackman), are emblematic of the album, and blur reality with the virtual façade which overlays it. The song is on BBC’s R1 Playlist for its ninth week. Watch the music video for “Beautiful Faces” here.
For Zeros, 21-year-old Mckenna decamped from his native London to Nashville, wanting to be away from the familiarity and consistency of home. He wrote all the music for the album himself and was backed on it by his long-time band. Like Nashville, the album is playful, wonderfully strange and intensely musical, and the themes and McKenna’s concerns are familiar, if evolved. There is the anxiety and disconnection of an entire generation born into a mess they did not create, as well as their alienation from a world where there seem to be multiple realities: social media, fake news, post-truth.
Ultimately Zeros is a world-building, not destroying, album. The unshakeable confidence and boldness of McKenna’s voice, as well as the stories he tells, are reinforced by the empathy and compassion with which he tells them. The “wisdom beyond his years” label McKenna’s often charged with stems from this as well: his recognition that as diverse as his generation is, their struggles with the modern world are similar, and that as disquieting and absurd as these experiences might feel, no one is in it alone.