Desperate Journalist

Desperate Journalist: The Garage, London

It’s been a week since Desperate Journalist packed the Garage in North London. We’re still reeling! Make no mistakes, Desperate Journalist are the real deal, they know it, that audience knew it, now, the world must too.

When you have a pop anthem like ‘Why Are You So Boring?’ in your locker, you save it for the climatic end right? Bollocks to that, they blasted it out second and sent London’s eyeliner massive into a frenzy. How do you follow that? With a soul crushing performance of ‘Jonatan’, that’s how.

On this Wolf Alice meets The Cult track, front woman Jo Bevan details the loss of a close friend. Bevan’s style has always been from pure and raw but, the courage she summons to deliver this heartfelt ode is breath taking. As she repeats ‘Jonatan’ at the songs close, Bevan transcends music. It’s so powerful, and so honest, this packed crowd is grieving as one.

Their recent singles ‘Cedars’ and ‘Satellite’ have seen guitarist Rob Hardy shine as bright as Bevan on record. There is a buzz in-between the support acts about this. Just how good are his solos going to be? Their escapist qualities were undeniable but, they highlighted just how much of gang Desperate Journalist are. There was no trundling through both songs to let Hardy take the limelight. If anything, on ‘Cedars’ he wielded his power with a humbleness that made Bevan look even more iconic.

Sometimes, after a great show (and this was), you are left wondering, where do a band go from here? Should they just bow out in a glorious fashion? For Desperate Journalist, even three albums in, this felt like a beginning. Only bigger and greater things are going to come their way.


Desperate Journalist - In Search Of The Miraculous

London’s Desperate Journalist release their third album ‘In Search of the Miraculous’ (Fierce Panda) on February 22nd. From their self-titled debut (2014) to ‘Grow Up’ (2017), the progress in quality was stark. Can they do it again on what is, loosely a concept album about sing Jo Bevan’s obsession with artist Bas Jan Arder.

Despite the high concept, their pop instincts remain, and, in the case of ‘Jonatan’ and ‘Cedars’ have significantly improved. ‘Jonatan’ is The Cult via Wolf Alice’s shoegaze tendencies. It creates a joyous sonic to a tragic tale. Bevan lost her friend Kasper in 2016 and here, she not only pays tribute but, in the repeated one-word chorus, embeds heartache, love, loss, anger, and nostalgia with every inflection with astonishing quality.

Lead single ‘Cedars’, is one of those pop songs you’d be forgiven for fast forwarding to the chorus’ hypnotic release of “Another fraying jumper”. It’s a wonderful pay off to the subtle and poetic verses.

Their previous two albums, musically, have often served as a vehicle to showcase Jo Bevan’s sublime vocal prowess. Now, guitarist Rob Hardy has found a vein of form so rich, its forged a partnership for the ages.

The singles ‘Cedars’ and especially ‘Satellite’, are beset with crushing Lindsey Buckingham-esque solos. He has begun to introduce pop immediacy into the shoegaze on ‘Murmations’ and ‘Jonatan’ with nods to straight up rock heroes The Cult. Their archetypal indie-goth sound feels fresher than ever on ‘Black Net’ and, on Ocean Wave’, Hardy, along with the razor ship rhythm of Caz Helbert and Simon Drowner, conjures a post-punk disco stomp classic.

Sometimes, on third albums, there is a sense of all or nothing for bands. They chose all in. This is a post-punk ‘Rumours’. This is the rarest of tightropes walked, where cutting edge meets accessible pop music and is credible. If Fleetwood Mac signed off their careers with this album, the world would lose its shit at ‘Satellite’ being the new ‘Go Your Own Way’ or ‘Argonauts’ as the new ‘Songbird’.