Declan McKenna
What Happened to the Beach?



by Brandon Taylor USER (40 Reviews)
March 6th, 2024 | 0 replies

Release Date: 02/09/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A misguided left turn away from a proven formula

Re-invention is a tricky thing. An artist can stay in their lane, playing to their strengths album after album, and get called out for doing too much of the same – Beach House and Real Estate are examples of great bands who’ve received this criticism. Or, they can take a big risk and pivot their sound away from what they’re known for… leading to the controversial “experimental” album in an artist’s discography.

That’s the direction Declan McKenna has taken on his third album, What Happened To The Beach? He’s moved from straightforward, hook-heavy indie pop, to a more art-rock influenced, rhythmic effort. It’s admirable to want to evolve your artistry in such a way, but it unfortunately makes the case that certain artists should stay in their lane. Especially when said artistic pivot involves moving away from what made Declan’s music so successful – massive choruses and memorable riffs. Beach? is a more subtle affair, begging for multiple listens to reveal its layers, but there ultimately isn’t much lyrical or melodic substance to be found under the surface.

I can see Declan McKenna’s intention to try something new, but there’s a reason his established formula had gifted him so much prior success. Nobody ever needed Two Door Cinema Club to make a Radiohead album.

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