Declan Welsh and The Decadent West: Cheaply Bought, Expensively Sold

review decadent west x1 cong

Declan Welsh and The Decadent West should have a simpler name, preferably beginning with The.

They’re a The band: their name suggests a kind of whimsy, but this they lack. They’re a straightforward indie band with a penchant for songs that sound like hit singles; not the same as actual hit singles, but they sound like they should be. Bands to reference are some of the better bands from a while back: Hard-Fi, the Dead 60s, bands who played tight and melodic guitar music but who leaned towards the generic. DWatDW would also have found an ideal home on the soundtrack of the InBetweeners: they’ve got the sort of every-lad but self-aware sound that would have fitted the adventures of Will and his mates, without approaching indie landfill.

The first few tracks are really good: opener No Fun is fast, with a driving, urgent, guitar riff and a big chorus. It’s about the lad (and he would be “a lad”) talking crap at a party while drinking “Buckfast (in) a cup”: “I never want to be left standing here alone with you again / As you harass my ears with far-fetched tails of hedonistic sin.”

Track two Absurd is more Hard-Fi though a line “I will live and die” suggested The Enemy; it seems to be about the pressure an indie band feels to have lyrics that make a comment: “What’s there to be done? / With a lyric, a pen and guitar like a gun / And bills to be paid …”

How Does Your Love loses some of the edge and is more soulful, indie to dance to, and Turn Me On is more of the same. Both tracks show a knack for writing a catchy chorus with falsetto singing.

New Me And You is a bit Arctic Monkeys and as the half-way point comes with Be Mine is a slower number that would have closed side one. The bluesier Do What You Want opens where Be Mine leaves off, though after that it all speeds up, albeit at a cost of getting a bit formulaic. A solid indie album, with a couple of bangers.


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