Fierce Panda Records
An excellent follow-up to the band’s self-titled debut album, Desperate Journalist’s Grow Up contains eleven dreamy, haunting, and cleverly composed post-punk songs. The band manages to channel the general spirit of 80s and 90s goth, punk, and new wave while still creating interesting songs that aren’t solely reliant on nostalgic sentiment.
The novelty of Desperate Journalist’s sound, especially on Grow Up, comes from the outstanding vocal talents of Jo Bevan, whom provides a powerful and passionate vocal performance on every track. Bevan’s raw abilities are especially obvious on tracks like “All Over” and “Purple”. Additionally, Simon Drowner’s bass playing ranges from smooth grooves (“Be Kind”, “Purple”) to crunchy goth riffs (“Hollow”). In fact, there are noticeably pronounced bass lines that run throughout most of the album’s tracks, which nicely juxtapose Rob Hardy’s dreamy, Cult-esque guitar performances.
Opening with the epic “Hollow” and closing with a piano ballad (“Radiating”), the album explores an array of lyrical and musical elements. For example, a lyrical motif of emotional hollowness appears at various points throughout the album (“Hollow”, “Oh Nina”). The musical composition of several songs that end in sudden, anti-climactic ways also appropriately accentuates the lyrical themes of frustration and resentment in songs like ”Hollow”, “Resolution”, and “Purple”. Bevan’s lyrics are often presented in a direct, spiteful manner (“Lacking In Your Love”, “Your Genius”, “Why Are You So Boring”, I Try Not To”). Part of the genius of Bevan’s vocal and lyrical combinations though, is that the songs work as a cathartic way of addressing feelings of resentment and frustration without being overly despairing.
Overall, Grow Up is an exemplary post-punk album. Desperate Journalist are quickly establishing themselves as a significant contemporary group with their latest work, and their efforts are sure to be positively received by audiences.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: DESPERATE JOURNALIST – GROW UP