Artist Review: Declan J Donovan

‘Declan’s raw yet sensitive sounding vocal instantly engages you.’

Intro to Declan:
Having released only two tracks so far, Essex based singer-songwriter Declan J Donovan can most definitely be described as a newcomer to the music world. However, after gaining an impressive following since the release of his debut ‘Fallen So Young’ in March 2017, he is back with ‘Better’ which proves while his musical career is in its infancy, his musicality most certainly isn’t. Read on to see why you should most definitely discover Declan J Donovan now.

Featured Track 1: Fallen So Young
Beginning with a relaxed sounding introduction – formed of strummed and picked electric guitar chords – Declan’s debut track ‘Fallen So Young’ is one that has an immediately calming feel about it. Highly effective in its execution, the contrast within this relatively simple opening sequence provides the perfect lead up to
Declan’s raw yet sensitive sounding vocal. Instantly, it engages you.

Focused on telling the story of the love between his brother and his brother’s wife, the lyrics talk of how their relationship has progressed and the difficulties faced while remaining as in love as when they were first together. Like the musical setting, it’s a simple story, however, Declan’s honest sounding performance throughout connects with you from the first note to the last.

However, the best aspects of this debut are not contained within the lyrics (nor indeed Declan’s vocal,) but how much it serves as a demonstration of his mature sounding musicality. It is a debut that with its subtle chord changes and selective use of harmony, shows this is only the start of what is to come.

Featured Track 2: Better
In some ways unsurprisingly,  Declan’s follow up track ‘Better,’ opens up with a haunting guitar line which immediately creates a soothing and calming sound equal to that heard in ‘Fallen So Young.’ This sequence, which forms the introduction, works perfectly as the initial accompaniment for Declan’s warm sounding voice which begins to tell us a heartfelt story of self-reflection. Working in a stripped back way, there are no musical distractions and as a result, you intently listen to Declan’s vocal as it leads us to the touching chorus lyrics of ‘I hope you’re better?’

Reflective of its first line, ‘It’s time to move on,’ the second verse has a greater sense of urgency with the previous accompanying ideas joined by subtle electronic drum sounds. This, alongside the use of reverb, generates a different atmosphere to what we have heard before and helps it to build into the chorus, where, with a much fuller texture, it really takes off. This contrasting version of the chorus is also where we get a reminder of Declan’s musical maturity and through the selective use of multi-tracked backing vocals, there is no doubting where the emphasis of the track really is.

Reaching the final parts of the track, the bridge guides us wonderfully through the acoustic and non-acoustic sides of Declan’s music. Continuing with the texture of the previous section, you feel it will be a rousing finish, but it isn’t and, perhaps as a musical nod to an un-answered question, it leaves you listening for a final note that never happens. I can’t wait to hear what’s next.

Follow Declan J Donovan on: Twitter and Facebook
Listen to Declan J Donovan on: Spotify
Find out more about Declan J Donovan’s music at: Track Review: Declan J Donovan: Human Way

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