Bands to Watch #408: Declan Welsh and the Decadent West

By on Thursday, 5th July 2018 at 12:00 pm
 

Confidence and charisma, if you are born with them, are two things that come in handy if you want to be a public figure. How you choose to use them, well, ladies and gents, that’s another story. East Kilbride’s Declan Welsh decided to use his gifts to write political poetry and songs and taking things one step further – and I guess as you do in a satellite town of Glasgow – formed a band with his hometown mates. The alliteratively named Declan Welsh and the Decadent West, one of top tips for this year’s May city festival season, appeared in May at The Great Escape 2018, where I was able to see the Scots in action at the Green Door Store Friday night, whipping the punters into a frenzy. No wonder this band has already become a hot commodity on the Glasgow live circuit.

Early on, it became clear to bloggers’ ears that Welsh would not shy from controversy and that he marched to the beat of a different drummer. A socialist drummer, you might say. Not afraid to get on his proverbial soapbox to deliver the searing ‘Nazi Boys’, he subsequently had to defend the Neelam Khan Vela-directed video with “We created two minutes and 20 second long piece of art, with a director whose main aim was to provoke a response.” Prior to showcasing in Brighton, they self-released their debut EP ‘All My Dreams Are Dull’, which featured several exemplary, jarring tracks demonstrating Welsh’s wit and desire to write about topics not usually talked about in polite company or merely all too often swept under the rug. ‘No Pasaran’, like ‘Nazi Boys’ before it, serves up another reminder to fight oppression at all costs. ‘Do What You Want’ promotes celebrates gender fluidity, which Welsh explained at the set I saw at the Great Escape as a call for more understanding and acceptance with the ultimate goal of love winning out.

I reckon the upbeat-sounding single ‘Lull’ will probably draw in the most new fans this summer festival season. Listen a little closer, and you’ll hear Welsh’s accurate depiction of the anxiety of youth in the lyrics. He explained the single to Louder Than War last month: “‘Lull’ is about self-doubt, it’s about the futility of existence, it’s about making art, trying to leave a mark, being lazy, delusions of grandeur. It’s basically about the fact that all of us are trying hard to find meaning, and about how some of us choose making stuff as that meaning. It’s then about how making stuff is about making an impact, being remembered, but about how that pressure can be destructive and drive people who make stuff to tie how good their stuff is with how worthwhile they are. It’s a bit grim, really, which is why we tried to make the tune a bit more upbeat. I quite like that juxtaposition, somber lyrics and an upbeat melody.”

While exploiting this kind of juxtaposition to get more listeners is nothing new in popular music, it’s great that an up-and-coming band is doing more than simply make a great big noise. Hang on this link for the future, as I suspect we’ll be writing much more about Declan Welsh and the Decadent West in days to come.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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