Every once in a while, an album comes along that doesn’t just exceed your expectations but totally blows them out of the water.  ‘Sublime Destruction’, the new 11 track album from London punk rockers Desperate Measures is one such record.

Recently inking a deal with Cadiz Music (home to the likes of Cockney Rejects and The Loveless) the signs were always promising regarding what Desperate Measures might do next after their excellent ‘Rinsed’ mini album came kicking and screaming into the post Covid world back in 2021. At the time I remember saying that the quartet’s particular twist on the punk rock genre was “delivered like a boot to the privates”, but with ‘Sublime Destruction’ there’s a whole lot more for you to worried about other than a kick to the coin purse. But hold on a minute, I’m getting ahead of myself here.

The immediate positives in the run up to the recording of this record where not only that the band retained a stable line up of vocalist Eugene Butcher, guitarist Gaff, drummer James Sherry and bassist Ricky McGuire but also that they were able to reunite with ‘Rinsed’ producer Andy Brook, the man who gave Gaff’s guitar more chunk than Fatty Jones’, err… and by that I of course mean his legendary sound.

That tone is there again straight from the off, albeit this time with the subtlest hint of ‘Sonic Temple’ era Billy Duffy as ‘Back To The Rats’ literally explodes out of the speakers.  This track is a perfect example of why Desperate Measures are such a revelation, the dual vocal between Butcher and Gaff is simply fantastic, as is the use of layered backing vocals during the half time breakdown which once again builds to add an extra level to the songwriting. This is something that is even more obvious on one of my favourite tracks on the album ‘Pockets’ which immediately follows. This cocky rocker could very easily have simply ploughed the UK Subs-like furrow of the opening riff and verses, but as soon as the pre-chorus hits you straight between the eyes, you’ll be humming it for weeks to come. Oh, and then there’s the just past the 3 minute “nah nah nah nah” mantra where the band joins in on vocals…there’s just so many hooks going on here its impossible not to take a bite. 

When the album’s title track thunders in next, driven largely by Butcher’s Billy Hopeless meets Vim Fuego bark you’ll perhaps be forgiven for thinking that all the sonic twists the band have to offer were already delivered, but nah ‘The Rich-tual’ is up next and if I called this brute “the best “Fuck The System” terrace anthem you’ll hear anywhere” back in 2021 then it’s even more relevant here in 2024. Oh, and yeah that “Woah oh” outro hook is still pure punk rock gold.

‘Enjoy The Ride’ follows and this turbo-charged Stooges-like stomper is just a one fingered piano riff away from absolute Pop perfection, it’s got the handclaps though, along with a bass sound to wreck your subwoofers, and then right out of left field there’s this almost angelic female backing vocal to send things to the next level once again. Righteous stuff indeed!

Having shared stages with the likes of The Professionals and The Dead Boys following the release of ‘Rinsed’ it’s the influence of the former that seems to have shaped the ‘Sublime Destruction’ version of ‘Lost Angels’ most, this is a song that started its life all the way back in 1988, and not for the first time here I’m thinking of the parallels between this record and Sister Morphine’s excellent (30 years plus in the making) debut album from last year. 

‘Untouchable’ must surely have been in contention for the album title as not only is a great track to place in the lucky number 7 slot but also pretty much sums up this record. Look out for the “I’m still waiting” backing vocals on this one too.

This is something which continues into ‘Thinking Of England’ one of the lead videos released in the run up to the album’s release and it’s a track that somehow manages to make me think of Towers of London and 3 Colours Red whilst still being 100% Desperate Measures.

The sublime Lords Of The New Church-tinged goth of ‘Rinsed’ tune ‘Flowers At Your Door’ ushers in the final 3 tracks on ‘Sublime Destruction’ and these tunes illustrate a slightly more introspective side to the band, via the pounding ode to North London that is ‘Seven Sisters’ and acoustic album closer ‘Still Got Me’ complete with string section!!!!!

And that, that right there folks, is what I was alluding to in the introduction to this review. There aren’t that many punk rock records that go the extra yard to add in that additional sonic dimension to push ahead of the pack, but here on ‘Sublime Destruction’ Desperate Measure (under the watchful eye of Mr Andy Brook) are not so much pushing ahead as out and out leading the pack.

Never mind the bollocks, this is THE bollocks.

‘Sublime Destruction’ is released on the 22nd of March 2024 via Cadiz Music on CD and (coloured vinyl) LP and you can order your copy – HERE!

Author: Johnny Hayward