Album Review: The Wombats – ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’
It has been a staggeringly difficult 1034 days between Wombats’ albums, and boy are we glad that the wait is over. After promising to provide new music quicker than the usual four years between albums, Liverpool’s emotionally unstable boy-band has yet again delivered the goods with Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life (BPWRYL).
The album is spectacular, pairing a glorious sonic journey with the typical Wombats lyrical quirk. It’s clear, though, that frontman Matthew Murphy, percussionist Dan Haggis and Nordic bass jarl Tord Overland Knudsen haven’t abandoned the basics that got them where they are.
It takes no time for the album to kick in to gear, as the first two tunes start with driving rhythm guitars; electric in ‘Cheetah Tongue’ and acoustic in ‘Lemon to a Knife Fight’.
The first two, along with slower, chilled, third track ‘Turn’ were all pre-releases, with Lemon to a Knife Fight claiming the 22nd spot in Triple J’s Hottest 100 countdown last month.
The aforementioned sonic exploration continues on tracks such as ‘Black Flamingo’ and ‘I Only Wear Black’. Synthesizers are used to increase the drive of the former while vocal harmonies and keyboards are used to bring a chirpy, poppy vibe to the latter.
While many have the potential to kill in a live setting, ninth track ‘Ice Cream’ sits atop of the rest with its wonderfully diverse sound.
Beginning with an almost beach-like sequence of strumming guitars, you’d be forgiven for thinking an easy-listening tune lay ahead. However, come the sensationally half-timed chorus, all your pre-emptive thoughts will be quashed.
The drums become stagnant and harsh, while the guitars are dark and exquisitely brutal. An interest is growing at MI as to what device created the over-arching scream sounds, but the inclusion of picky guitar rhythms and bongo tapping just adds to the gloriously complex nature of this undoubted banger.
Best track on the album has to go to the bizarre slow-dance of ‘Lethal Combination’. Beginning with what is best described as an explosion of sound, the trio slow things all the way down as Murphy serenades the listener with subtle vocals, encouraging us all to get blind tonight.
Underneath lie subtle tambourine claps plotting the verse along, before harmonies and a full-blown percussion set are introduced in the lyrically depressing but sonically uplifting chorus.
All in all, the wait was well worth it, as we have been treated to some truly special tunes, regardless of how zany they are at times. With the band recently concluding a tour across the USA and shortly conducting one in their native UK, don’t expect to wait long for a visit down-under.