Declan McKenna returns with new single Sympathy, his first new music of the year, and the first to be lifted from the follow-up to his acclaimed second album Zeros, which debuted at #2 in the UK album chart, back in Summer 2020.
The track premieres today as Radio 1’s Hottest Record, alongside a video directed by Will Hooper (IDLES, Dua Lipa), filmed on location in Camber Sands, East Sussex. Watch HERE
Sympathy represents the effortless and uncomplicated style of writing that McKenna has been focusing on. “It was important to use fewer words and not over-explain things this time around,” McKenna confirms. By stripping away the layers he found that his songwriting became more revealing and, ultimately, satisfying too.
Declan on Sympathy: “Sympathy doesn’t have a complex message, and, in itself, encourages simplicity and directness. It feels like a dream about love and compassion, it wants us to let go of inhibitions and allow ourselves to truly connect with others rather than overthinking and hiding your feelings away. Or put even simpler, it’s about peace and love.”
It’s a buoyant and bold leftfield pop song, skittering along in the sunshine with chiming organs, shuffling beats, a smattering of handclaps, and Declan’s innate ear for both tone and melody. He found that sunshine in abundance out in Los Angeles where the track was recorded alongside producer Gianluca Buccellati, perhaps best known for his work with Arlo Parks on her Mercury Prize winning debut album “Collapsed In Sunbeams”, and Lana Del Rey. The track was mixed by David Wrench (David Byrne, Jamie xx, Frank Ocean, Glass Animals).
Creating that distance from home offered Declan the time and space that’s inhabited his new music too. Sympathy immediately feels like a renewed burst of energy and enthusiasm for the young Brit, which finds him in scintillating form.
Back out on the road across the US performing to big, full rooms over the past few weeks, Declan returns to the UK later this Summer and perched high up the billing (just behind headliner Billie Eilish on the main stage) at the Reading & Leeds Festival in August, all testament to the hard graft and deep-seated connections he’s made with a passionate/rabid young fanbase.
It’s an exciting return, with plenty yet to come.
Declan McKenna Live (UK):
Friday 25th August – Leeds Festival (Main Stage East)
Sunday 27th August – Reading Festival (Main Stage East)