Desperate Journalist

Desperate Journalist

Naming your band after an obscure Cure quip aimed at then-NME writer and celebrated swellhead Paul Morley, implies not only an arcane knowledge of alternative pop, but perhaps an insider’s cognisance of the machinations of the music industry. One might be forgiven for approaching with extreme caution. And what’s more, are they launching an assault at the frontline club? God knows, we’ve all been desperate at one time or another.

Anyway, one needn’t have worried. Any concerns about an impending avalanche of archness are soon dispelled on the excellently frenetic opener ‘Control’, and by the time ‘Cristina’ comes around and Jo Bevan sings "I’m embittered and hitting out", goosebumps are running up and down spines and causing desperate journalists to mix their metaphors. Slightly self-conscious nomenclature aside, there isn’t a cynical bone in their pale, skinny bodies. This instead, is the sound of romance.

If Bevan’s voice is affecting, then some of the slashing guitar from Rob Hardy also gives extra vitality, and the band a duality, harking back to the sonic call and response dynamic perfected by a certain Morrissey and Marr back in the 80s. It would be dishonest to not mention the Smiths at some point, because they’re writ large here, and one suspects bass player Simon Drowner’s surname might well come from a Suede song, or who knows, maybe he submerged some kittens back in his native Birmingham? If what this north London-based four-piece are doing isn’t entirely new, then what it does possess is a joie de vivre and a humanity absent from so much of what passes for indie these days. It’s not a lost cause, the world just needs more records that make you swoon, like this one.  

And swoon we do, to ‘O’, with its ‘ohs’ and it’s ooze (perhaps named after the erotic Anne Desclos novel ‘Story Of O’, or perhaps not). To the aforementioned ‘Christina’ and ‘Control’, two of last year’s finest singles. To the violent and anthemic conclusion of ‘Hesitate’. To the tenderness of ‘Distance’, and its well-chorused-up and Peter Hook-inspired bass peripatetics. And to the walzy magnificence of ‘Cement’. To listen to the searing melodrama from this eponymously-titled and impressive debut is to wonder what went wrong, and why other similar bands are unable to bring this sort of emotional honesty and gut-churning commitment to their music. Too many prosperous part-timers pursuing a hobby without fear of privation perhaps? Not only do this lot mean it man, but they’re living it. This is the sound of glamour huddled around a gas fire smoking a butt rollie and dreaming out of the window, looking into the stars. The beautiful and spellbinding sound of a band desperate to prove something. What they do prove, is that groups with guitars this great aren’t two a penny any more.

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