Desperate Journalist’s debut record is the first great music release I’ve heard in 2015. Working from a Britpop era template wherein guitars are played rather than programmed, battered instead of delicately flicked at, and each song rises to moments of high drama as carefully prepared as to be the focus of the song rather than a brief interruption from the usual verse-chorus dynamic.
Jo Bevan’s voice finds a middle point between the removed but shouting style of The Organ’s Katie Sketch and emotional but shouting style of Echobelly’s Sonya Madan. She is a commanding presence as a singer.
The Editors’ 2005 debut record is the closest thing to a recent record comparative to this but I think Desperate Journalist has an even better grasp of melody ( and I like The Editors). Post- Shoegaze as part of a greater pop rock landscape where guitar storms are balanced against a driving rhythm section and understandable vocals.
Every song is good here but my two favorites are the rocking single Control and the emotional high point Distance in which the volume of the guitars is turned down slightly before the usual exploding dramatic middle.
The Smiths are the true spiritual father of this type of music but it’s been filtered through enough different scenes since their time that it’s not so apparent. However, lyrics like “He who hesitates is lost but I’ll keep my fingers crossed” should leave no doubt who the influence is.
There should be more records like this one – Wherein older sounds, a tradition, are added to and made better hopefully leaving it to other bands to pick up and run with in the future.