Declan McKenna: Zeros review | Alexis Petridis’s album of the week

McKenna’s second album is in thrall to pop’s 1970s glam heroes, but his lyrics ponder today’s struggles, from the climate crisis to social media

The cover of Declan McKenna’s second album features a blurred photo of its 21-year-old author against a black background. He’s reaching out to the listener, casually dressed for an appearance on Top of the Pops at the height of the three-day week in 1974: his unzipped metallic jumpsuit sparkling in the soft lighting, its shoulders so exaggerated their outer limits are level with his mouth. McKenna’s look has approached glam before – a little eye makeup, nail polish and a hint of glitter on his face setting him apart from the massed ranks of youthful, earnest boy-next-door singer-songwriters – but this is something else. At first glance, Zeros looks as if it’s fallen through a time warp from 1974, more like a lost album rescued from obscurity by a specialist reissue label than the latest release from a very 21st century kind of artist whose music is beloved of TikTokkers in search of a soundtrack. (His debut single Brazil went silver without actually making the charts.)

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