First off, we need to talk about that name. This North London foursome’s chosen moniker is peerless among those hotly tipped for 2015. Named after an obscure rarity by The Cure but adhering to the only criteria for naming a band that really matters, quoted here in The Simpsons classic ‘Homer’s Barbershop Quartet’: “witty at first, but seems less funny each time you hear it”. The first time I heard Desperate Journalist I laughed so hard I nearly cried. Then I did cry. The truth hurts, y’know?
With that out of the way we can get on to the record. Available physically from next week (26th January), the group’s debut comes jam-packed with sounds of British indie from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Rob Hardy’s guitar dances elegantly around Jo Bevan’s vocals on the verses of lead single ‘Control’ before it kicks into its thrilling chorus. Some of the standouts like ‘Cristina’ and the breathless ‘Eulogy’ are so spectacularly ‘80s they are this close to protesting the closing of a mine somewhere, presumably while wearing shoulder pads.
Desperate Journalist get it right. Unlike so many so-called post-punk revival bands of the early 2000s, they aren’t just posing in a Joy Division t-shirt at some indie club night. There are nods to The Smiths, The Psychedelic Furs and more than a couple tips of the hat to peak period Siouxsie and the Banshees – 1981’s Juju for those wondering. Crucially however, there are signs throughout of the group forging an identity for themselves beyond their influences and that’s when things get really exciting.
Desperate Journalist is a self-assured, confidently executed first full-length release. Seriously, it’s good. So good, in fact, I would part with some of my own cash to own it. From one desperate journalist to another, there can surely be no higher compliment.
Desperate Journalist is available to download now. CDs and vinyl out on 26th January on Fierce Panda Records.