Its been 11 years since The Wombats dropped arguably one of the best debut albums of the 21st Century, yet it certainly does not feel that long and now they return with their fourth LP ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’, which shows the journey of the band; with the exact same themes that dominated their debut yet with a matured sound.
The Liverpool natives had a stellar 2017; selling out their two tenth anniversary shows at O2 Brixton and playing at various festivals, including headlining Truck Festival. The synths dominated days of ‘Glitterbugs’ and their indie-rock naivity in ‘A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation’ are very much a thing of the past.
The Wombats shared ‘Lemon To A Knife Fight’ as the lead single for their fourth album, however, it did feel like a disappointment and incredibly repetitive. If you can look past the super catchy chorus and the sort of harmonic, melodic guitar hook that will be instantly recognisable to fans, before introducing the drums and bass. There is little to draw you back to the album – a rarity when it comes to this trio. ‘Cheetah Tongue’ is a vast improvement and what I was expecting, a catchy recall of the failure to deal with the pressures of adulthood expressed with a neo-nineties feel.
The new album is darker. From the opening track, ‘Cheetah Tongue’, the consistently booming bassline and guitars add a meteor-esque sound, during the momentous chorus. ‘Turn’ only adds to the dark vibe; humming basslines and chorus filled with syncopated drum fills and in contagious vocal frills all amounts to the addition of a relentless synth thrum which adds an oddly futuristic element. ‘Ice Cream’, a track dominated by the bassline and distressing themes.
However, there are moments of sunshine in ‘Beautiful People..’, is centred around ‘Black Flamingo’, boasting a heavenly beat. Its ethereal chorus and it’s simple yet timeless, making your head start to move and before you know it you’re on your feet busting out your favourite dance moves, don’t worry we all do it…
Meanwhile, the guitar licks of ‘White Eyes’ is heightened by a garage drum beat and some soulful sampling, and the guitar hooks on ‘Dip You In Honey’ is reminiscent of the avant-garde stylings of The Beatles, not to forgot the god-like guitar in ‘Out of My Head’, rising and falling giving you a real rollercoaster ride. There was a could-have-been great in ‘I Don’t Know Why I Like You But I Do’, the potential to be a mega rock ballad, it’s still good but not what it could have been. This album brings more tracks which are made for the fields of the summer festivals and made for live performances.
Lyrically its tales of love, heartbreak and the inner-conflict, which we are all familiar with but still can’t get enough of. This is not their best piece of work, however, it’s definitely reinforcing their position as the pinnacle of indie-pop. The Wombats now come with the darker tone and they seem to be taking it all a bit more seriously this time around.
Catch them across the UK showcasing the new album and performing the classics;
Tue 13 Mar – Limelight, Belfast
Wed 14 Mar – Academy, Dublin
Fri 16 Mar – Great Hall, Cardiff
Sat 17 Mar – O2 Academy, Sheffield
Mon 19 Mar – Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen
Tue 20 Mar – O2 Academy, Newcastle
Wed 21 Mar – Rock City, Nottingham
Fri 23 Mar – O2 Institute, Birmingham
Sat 24 Mar – Academy, Manchester
Sun 25 Mar – UEA, Norwich
Tue 27 Mar – Alexandra Palace, London
Wed 28 Mar – O2 Academy, Bristol
Thu 29 Mar – O2 Guildhall, Southampton