Declan McKenna’s fiery “British Bombs” is an uncompromising anti-war song

The U.K. singer-songwriter returns with a strong political statement.

August 19, 2019

Declan McKenna is a songwriter who has never been afraid to exercise his free speech. On his 2017 debut What Do You Think About The Car? he took aim at subjects such as police brutality, the right-wing's influence of news media, and the often-violent nature of religion. This streak continues on new song "British Bombs," his first material since his album came out over two years ago.

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The spiky and energetic "British Bombs," produced by Arctic Monkeys and Florence + The Machine producer James Ford, is a takedown of the U.K. government's foreign policy, in particularly in relation to arms trading. It is accompanied by an animated video that juxtaposes classicly British images of polite behavior with the harsh realities of war. It's a heady mix as smiling cups of tea dance the the punky-pop melodies one moment, before news footage of tanks and military helicopters are shown the next. McKenna returns to the phrase "Great Britain won't stand for felons, Great British bombs in the Yemen," throughout.

Speaking to The FADER via email, McKenna explained that, “'British Bombs' is a tune I wrote about the hypocrisy of the British arms trade and the weapons convention in London. I think too often it’s implied that matters in the world are too complex to not end up with war, or to not possess and sell weapons, and I just think it is pure bullshit. Not only do we still engage in wars far away from our homes, which settle nothing and fuel extremism in the aftermath, we sell weapons to other countries knowing where they end up.

“I wanted to write a song that was outright against war, in any form. Violence breeds violence and I just don’t think the world is too complex to set a peaceful precedent, but it seems the business of war is what keeps happening. To say it’s a shame feels like a huge understatement.”

McKenna is donating proceeds from the single, which is streaming now, to charity.

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Declan McKenna’s fiery “British Bombs” is an uncompromising anti-war song