Desperate Ground, The Thermals

Sometimes artists dick us around, muddle their message and say the interpretation is up to us. Most times, they drop hints here and there or allude to a specific meaning. On the refreshing and rare occasion, artists give their audience direct information that makes the intention or the aim of their art precisely known.

Hutch from The Thermals recently stated the new album, ‘Desperate Ground’ is “cinematic” and is supposed to be like “a big action film.” Knowing this is important. Mindset is everything.

Desperate Ground, The Thermals

Instead of reading too much into lyrics about war and remorse and drawing conclusions hastily, you can relax and enjoy these 10 amazing post-punk pogo power rock songs in the fun, full-on HD (or Spectra-Vision) manner they were presented and embrace the massive hook-laden escapism of the thing.

Plotting Desperate Ground

Epic Title Sequence/Enter the Hero/Exposition – “Born To Kill” + “You Will Be Free”

Hero’s Backstory/Motivation/The Rising Action – “The Sunset” + “I Go Alone”

Battle Sequence/Conflict/Climax – “The Sword By My Side” + “You Will Find Me”

Battle Aftermath/Falling Action “Faces Stay With Me” + “The Howl Of The Winds”

Hollywood Happy Ending Blockbuster Screen Kiss/Resolution/Closing Credits – “Where I Stand” + “Our Love Survives”

The band continues to impress with their seemingly effortless ability to write great songs. Big hooks. Big riffs. Big voice. Big sound. Yep, it’s a Thermals record alright.

The intensity level though has been brought back up to much beloved The Body, The Blood, The Machine-era setting. The violence in volume bodes well for the soundtrack to the motion picture that doesn’t exist and with its 10 killer sugar-coated tracks rich in imagery of heroic violence.

Desperate Ground is a perfect Spring/Summer blockbuster crowd pleaser that reintroduces the Portland trio and proves to the world that The Thermals can make a better action picture on record than most of Hollywood can on film – and clocking in at a mere 26 minutes, take a hell of a lot less time to do it in.

Casey Bowers

I'm a writer who knows more about music, film, and pop culture than I do about load bearing walls, stabilized population growth, or animal husbandry.