Album Review: Brijitte West & The Desperate Hopefuls – “From NY With Love”
For those rock fans in the know, it was cause for no small amount of rejoicing when Brijitte West, the compelling singer with mid-nineties punk heroes NY Loose, emerged from exile a few years back with her new band The Desperate Hopefuls. Returning with another offering on the back of a successful fan funding campaign through Pledge Music, From NY With Love contains a fine set of songs that is certainly cause for further jubilation.
If you were a fan of The New York Loose, no doubt you’ll find plenty to enjoy here. Opener Typical Drunken Loser sets the tone nicely for what follows – a straight up pop gem boasting an irresistible chorus, delivered with a punk rock sneer. To be fair, of the eleven tracks on offer here, there isn’t a duff chorus among the bunch. Musically, The Desperate Hopefuls proudly revel in their influences, boasting an authentic New York sound proudly reminiscent of The Ramones, Blondie or Johnny Thunders. While some bands using this template would run the risk of sounding tired or overly simplistic, West has the tunes and the conviction to pull it off with panache.
The real star of the show on this album though is the lyrics. Whether it’s the witty, cutting Typical Drunken Loser, the playful, bittersweet We Didn’t Make It or the lovelorn Permanent Ink, West certainly knows her way around a smart turn of phrase. Even when she veers into less familiar territory, like Fight For Me’s tale of a refugee in crisis, the lyrics remain startlingly effective.
Stand out tracks include the aforementioned Typical Drunken Loser, the breathy, melodic Lie To Me and the seventies pop strut of Nick Gilder cover Hot Child, propelled by a driving rhythm courtesy of former Rachel Stamp drummer and all round legend Robin Guy. The acoustic Lock And Chain offers a nice change of pace, along with the gentle Fire Brigade, which brings the album to a fitting close.
If you want to nitpick, it would have been great to see Brijitte West & The Desperate Hopefuls take a few more risks on this album and not stay quite so faithful to such a familiar sound. That small niggle aside, this is a storming set of pop punk tunes that are sure to put a smile on your face. New York has given us a lot to love.