Rough Trade East, London

28 July 2021

THE sycophants accompanied the acolytes along with the rose-tinted spectacle wearers and stood in somewhat bewildering reverence during Desperate Journalist’s latest album launch at a far from full Rough Trade East.

Album number four, ‘Maximum Sorrow,’ sees the London band not only at a crossroads, but also treading water while they decide which path they should – individually or collectively – follow next.

Take a few minutes to listen to ‘Satellite’ and ‘Hollow.’ Listen to ‘Armageddon,’ clearly Maximum Sorrow’s standout track. Marvel at the passion, let the adrenaline wash away your blues, prepare for the hairs to stand on end.

The band’s quality, emotion, prowess and hunger have been clear for all to see these past few years

But I’m still struggling to comprehend how such a hugely anticipated album launch in the band’s home city, in front of their loyal fans turned out as lacklustre as it did. Was it simply a bad night at the office, or is there something else to blame, something far deeper lurking just over the horizon?

A confusing setlist didn’t inspire and will forever be seen as a missed opportunity to have captured the hearts of any first-timers who had decided to venture out on such a miserable early evening in the capital.

This wasn’t a case of ‘second album syndrome’ either. This is album number four. And yet we’re still not clear what Desperate Journalist’s plans are, what they stand for. In all honesty, by now the prized ‘breakthrough’ should have happened.

It clearly hasn’t.

I expected queues around the block in a city that had been starved of its live music scene. I expected a sold-out event. I didn’t see either.

It wasn’t an evening I attended alone. I was fortunate to have shared the company of a musician whose legendary CV truly is the stuff of dreams.

He sought long and hard for the positives from what he’d witnessed, but unable to break the musician’s code of loyalty towards each other, simply said, “I really don’t know where they go from here.”

Neither do I.

I came fully prepared and expecting to laud the UK’s next ‘greatest guitar band.’

I left confused and hollow.

Hollow, hollow, hollow, hollow.

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