ALBUM REVIEW: Declan Welsh & The Decadent West – Cheaply Bought, Expensively Sold (Modern Sky UK)
This is the debut album by a group of Scottish upstarts who are the nearest thing I’ve heard to the Arctic Monkeys since – well, the Arctic Monkeys themselves.
Declan Welsh is a songwriter and poet from Glasgow, and The Decadent West are his three bandmates, and together they create a politically-charged indie-rock noise, heavily influenced by the urban storytelling style of Alex Turner and co. back in their early days.
They released their first EP, All My Dreams Are Dull, to widespread acclaim in 2018, and now set out their stall with their first full-length.
It features one track from that first release, fan favourite Do What You Want, plus 11 new songs, and there’s not a duff one among them.
The first tastes of the new material were the singles How Does Your Love, a disco-flecked indie belter that finds nostalgia in the nightlife scene, and No Fun, a put-down at the scenester culture found at house parties, opining “no one cares if you did all the drugs, you’re no fun at a party”.
Absurd sounds like The Courteeners crossed with White Lies, while Turn Me On addresses the joys of falling in love, insisting “I just want the way I feel to last forever”.
Break-up song New Me And You is a swashbuckling slice of indie rock driven by a dirty bassline, while Do What You Want examines how it’s all right to find your own beliefs, and not just swallow the doctrine of religion.
The swaggering Never Go Home is a contender for my favourite track on the album, while The Dream lists the things that are important to many people on a good night out – “love and pubs, and sex and drugs/ in hours so wee, we just couldn’t see/ how it would end … let’s never go home again”.
Times is an exhilarating ‘closer’, but wait, there’s more, an unlisted track where Welsh sings accompanied by just an acoustic guitar, and it could be Glasvegas on one of their quieter moments that you’re listening to.
DW&TDW are Declan Welsh (guitar & vocals), Duncan McBride (guitar), Ben Corlett (bass) and Murray Noble, and though there’s a lot of competition, this is one of the most enjoyable debut albums I’ve heard this year. 8/10.