Words by Christine Sheridan
It’s been almost a month since our fav Brits The Wombats released their new album Glitterbug, yet I’m still not sick of hearing their songs on repeat. Produced by Mark Crew (best known for his work with Bastille) and following their previous albums A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation (2007) and This Modern Glitch (2011), it’s sufficient to say the four-year wait was worth it.
Transitioning their jumpy quirkiness down a slight notch, Glitterbug is a more mature album, capturing the band’s experiences over the last few years. The album’s themes focus on a tumultuous relationship with a fictional woman in L.A, and showcases the band’s loveable persona with clever lyrics and dance rhythms.
Opening track Emoticons sets the bar high, delivering layer upon layer of synths, heavy drum beats and a solid guitar solo. Next, we’re met by front man Matt Murphy’s radiant voice, singing about how modern technology can’t describe a feeling. The tune transfixes you, as the easy pace moves, culminating in a splash of dynamics and movement.
Give Me a Try is next, exploring maturity within the lyrical, ethereal world of romanticism and relationships. With deeper meaning and a swift tempo, this track reportedly has a double meaning, relating to their lacking US fanbase.
The band delve deeper with Curveballs, exploring relationship woes with lyrics like, “his clothes on your floor, I’ve been here before/ I can’t keep up with these curveballs.” While it lacks the vigour of A Guide to Love and Loss & Depression, the deeper lyrics show new emotion – tongue-in-cheek as it may be; “there’s no greater sight/than you in your underwear, removing mine.” The stripped-back Isabel is a pained ballad; a leap away from their usual style, it’s a hard listen – it doesn’t feel like there’s much direction throughout the track, and takes a few repeated listens to truly appreciate it.
Greek Tragedy moves along at a place similar to the 2013 single, Your Body Is a Weapon. filled with instrumental drops and drum beats you can only imagine drummer Dan Haggis sweating up a groove to on stage. These two tracks in particular are sculpted into pop explosions, and unlike their previous albums, Glitterbug is void of that rock edge, opting instead for a synths-and-more-synths structure.
Critics are describing the album as lacking in originality, seeing The Wombats veer more towards the indie/pop genre. Overall, it’s hardly groundbreaking. However, it’s fast hooks and pulsating riffs lure you in to a midnight world full of colour and spontaneity. It’s filled with eccentric anecdotal stories and subtle references to their chronically unlucky love experiences, rounding off to possibly be their most impressive album to date.
The Wombats were last spotted in Australia pulsating the Amphitheatre stage at the 2013 Falls Festival playing their energetic set to a cauldron of fans in the rain. If you were lucky enough to score yourself a Splendour ticket for this year, make sure you check them out. They’re also doing a few sideshows for those who can’t make it to Byron Bay:
Thu, July 23: Metro City, Perth (Tix here) *Circa Waves not appearing
Mon Jul 27: Enmore Theatre, Sydney (Tix here)
Tue July 28 Palais Theatre, Melbourne (Tix here)
Thu July 30, Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide (Tix here)