Album Review: The Thermals – Desperate Ground


The more easily accessible type of punk has never really drawn me in, with Green Day becoming more commercial and less authentic with every release it has put me off the idea and message that the whole scene has tried to get across. On first listen I found The Thermals to be very similar to Green Day, or a more watered down version of them, but as I listened more it appeared there is a certain charm to the music that keeps it relevant and has drawn me in – and my first impression was naïve and presumptuous.

There’s no cliché style introduction for the album, just a straight forward punk rock song with ‘Born To Kill’. For a modern release ‘Desperate Ground’ has captured the sound that punk has always had to me; a very raw sound and direction. I can’t say that this stands out to me much with the repetitive lyrics and chords, but who am I to say what this type of music is meant to sound like? It’s obviously punk rock and The Thermals don’t try to hide that. It’s a genuine sound which carries through into ‘You Will Be Free’ and shows that these guys know their sound. A great chorus in this song, and a better example of what the vocalist is capable of.

As soon as ‘The Sunset’ kicks in I immediately thought Green Day. As this album carries on I find myself really being drawn into it due mainly to the vocalist Hutch Harris’ delivery and performance. ‘I Go Alone’ is a slower number and a potential single for the band, showing a different side to The Thermals.

‘The Sword By My Side’ starts off very punk, and continues with the modern twist that adds that touch of individuality to The Thermals. I can easily imagine these guys playing with The Gaslight Anthem; they both have that certain twist to their music that you can’t put your finger on but works so well for them. 

Definitely my favourite track from the album, ‘You Will Find Me’ has a great groove to it that hooks you straight away – The Thermals have got me interested in their brand of punk rock. ‘Faces Stay With Me’ has that knack to it that caught me off guard with ‘You Will Find Me’.

The album slowed down without me realising until ‘Where I Stand’ kicked in. Hutch Harris sings the chorus in such a way that I was drawn and found myself really hooked by this song. 

‘Our Love Survives’ is a more heartfelt song than the previous efforts, although with genuine emotion evoked through the lyrics and performance I can’t help realising all the songs before have sounded very similar. 

As I’ve mentioned already, punk rock has never really stood out to me but The Thermals didn’t disappoint or give me any more reason to not have much interest. The modern touch to something that has been done countless times before gives The Thermals a better reach to audiences, including me who wouldn’t have any interest at all to check it out. As the album faded out I realised that I couldn’t really pick out a certain song that stood out to me as they all blended into one, with them all sounding very similar. With that negative part over though, I did like the music and enjoyed it while I was listening, it just wasn’t very memorable. 


‘Desperate Grounds’ by The Thermals is out on 15th April on Saddle Creek.

The Thermals links: Website|Facebook

Words by Callum McPhee (@Callum0510)


This website collects cookies to deliver better user experience. Learn more.