The Thermals – Desperate Ground

Album Review by Chris McCall | 03 Apr 2013
Album title: Desperate Ground
Artist: The Thermals
Label: Saddle Creek
Release date: 15 April

The righteous fury of The Thermals continues to burn with intensity some ten years after their debut. The subjects that singer Hutch Harris has taken aim at over the years – from war and right wing politicians to our own complacency – are certainly worthy of debate. But such insistent moralising is not everyone's cup of tea, particularly when the Portland band tackle a more singular theme - aggression - on Desperate Ground.

Then again, nobody who listens to this album - the band's sixth - could accuse Harris of posing or posturing. His beliefs, and their desire to challenge others, clearly comes straight from the gut. On Born to Kill, he questions the blind faith of a soldier turned madman, ready to spill blood, who snarls: "I will not be denied my destiny." Composing polemic anthems is what The Thermals do best; anyone after a more nuanced discussion would be best advised to look elsewhere. [Chris McCall]