Album Review: Desperate Journalist – “In Search Of The Miraculous”
Desperate Journalist are one of those bands who seem to have sort of existed on the periphery of my music listening for a few years now. Initially coming to Pure Rawk’s attention via the presence of bassist Simon Drowner, formerly of the much-missed Jonny Cola & The A-Grades, their first two albums were promising, but maybe more a band on its way to working its sound out than the finished article.
In Search Of The Miraculous though definitely represents a big leap forward for them and shows that their progress from indie dive inhabitees to the sort of band who can pack out venues like the Garage is no fluke. This is the sound of a band learning and improving, evident right from the off in opener Murmuration – singer Jo’s vocals have a more confident edge to them while the extra oomph in the rest of the band’s sound definitely makes you sit up and take notice. There’s an added confidence in the songwriting as well with a lot of the songs based around the theme of the sea (Black Net, International Waters, Ocean Wave).
You’ll hear echoes of the shoegazing bands of the early 90s and the gothier end of early 80s indie in here – the vocals definitely have a hint of Liz Fraser or even old school Morrissey – while the icy chiming guitars, pounding tribal drums and swirling basslines recall everyone from the Cure through Echo & The Bunnymen and early Lush. But the key thing is that Desperate Journalist are smart enough to put their own stamp on here, rather than being a bunch of copyists. Former singles Cedars and Satellite have a nagging insistence that’s difficult to ignore, while the swooping Jonatan and the stark Argonauts are further proof of what this band can do.
I get that Desperate Journalist might still not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially those who are into the heavier end of the stuff we review on Pure Rawk, but if you’re willing to put your preconceptions aside and give this a spin, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.
The sound of a band building on their progress so far and doing it with some style, "In Search Of The Miraculous" might well be the album that propels Desperate Journalist out of the underground and into the limelight. With added confidence and clarity, this represents their strongest work to date and is well worth your time and money.