Allegedly the inspiration for Donald Trump’s favourite words, self-described ‘Glowering indiegoth melody crunchers’ Desperate Journalist are back with their second album Grow Up, focusing on a teen angst that’s persevered into adulthood. With a similarly apocalyptic tone, the doomy opener ‘Hollow’ is reminiscent of tracks from The Cure’s Disintegration, but with a rougher, more vicious bite. The swirling guitars and synths straight after on ‘Resolution’ combine with a Morrissey-esque mixture of mournful yearning in singer Jo Bevan’s voice for its catchy 5-4-3-2-1 countdown chorus.
Despite this often cinematic sound, the group don’t cling to, or invent emotional extremes for their songs, instead, precise experiences and feelings are documented with brilliant description. ‘Why Are You So Boring?’ details someone’s self-important lectures on Animal Farm and their vain hair flicks with the bluntness of fellow post-punkers Savages yet the eloquent storytelling of Los Campesinos.
At many points on the album, the group show a softer side. ‘Be Kind’, for example, contains lyrics of “I want to be kind, I want to be perfect to you”. The constant juxtaposition of howling guitars and sensitive moments of quiet doesn’t feel odd in the slightest. Their collage of post-punk heaviness and delicately plucked riffs runs throughout the album, making it feel more three dimensional and balanced. Though some of the slower tracks can add a little tedium to the listen, ‘Radiating’ closes the album with a change of style as a slow piano solely supports Bevan’s lament. In essence Desperate Journalist, feel Grown Up. Not in a boring, passionless way, but a more sensitive, thoughtful way, as if the songs here mean something more.