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Declan Welsh – 2 Review

He may be part of a decadent west like the rest of us, trapped eating Milk Tray, watching reruns of Pointless and waiting for the sun to rise, but Declan Welsh is unlike us all. His record, 2, sets him apart from most on the grounds of musical accomplishment. His ten-track display fits the Decadent West frontman into the stylish Glasgow explosion on display here. They carry forth the torch of quality and the comforts of those usual guitar-led indie riffs are turned on their head from time to time. Opener Mercy asks for nothing of the sort, and where the band rallies around the usual qualities of the deeper indie scene, they are a unique aftermath of a 2013 overabundance.  

Lying in wait and releasing now, the back end of September, brings about a fresh time to take up their charming style. Plain antics from King of My Head bring an end to the swirling intentions and wonder. There is a clear shot in sight for Declan Welsh and the Decadent West, who use their bridges, rising and falling as they do for this tranquil yet heavy song, to the best of their abilities. To be King of your own head must be a dream, and the mental health angle tucked away in the words is not just a treat but a powerhouse pushing an important message to the front. Flickers of these first two tracks hold out on the “tired of it all” indie slide which first appeared toward the back end of the 2010s. Arctic Monkeys may channel their rage and exhaustion at the scene with their last two albums, but there are still those toiling away, using the sound to explain and expand the genre. Declan Welsh and the Decadent West are one of the few doing it right.  

Although Come Outside will always have its place as a show containing a spotted plane and a flying dog, 2 holds out hope for those who do not remember children’s television. Their wispy ballads are as effective as their guitar-heavy openers. The likes of OK Now bleed in a finer charm, a softer flourish of the band at their most open and rewarding. A slight echo to the instrumentals on I Don’t Know Why presents some strong form and interesting pangs of loved-up restraint on First To Know bringing about the wider points 2 holds out for. They work in sync with one another and form a tremendous, solid core.  

Colloquial charms of deck chair launching nights out on 100 to 1 do not click personal for how specific they are but they do create the wilder moments of nights on the town. Everyone has them, to varying degrees naturally, and 2 provides great indicators of what happens in the personal lives of grounded musicians. Declan Welsh and company certainly are, the imitable likeability of their release here is the absolute core of what makes their indie charms click. Patches of linguistic Glaswegian charm come through on Hardly News, though this should not be much of a surprise. It is neutered elsewhere and earlier in the tracklist, but 2 finds its footing in those streets of reflective, indie lightness.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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