In case you hadn’t heard, The Wombats are back.
They’ve been spoiling us over these last few weeks with singles such as Turn, Cheetah Tongue, and, most recently, Black Flamingo since their initial single release of Lemon To A Knife Fight off this, their fourth studio album.
But now, finally, their album is upon us as of Friday. Three years after their last album was released, was Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life worth the wait?
In short, yes.
The first four tracks on the album are the four singles: instant recognition, guaranteed head-nodding, potential lyric belting (especially on Turn, an indisputable feel-good, sing-along tune). For me, this was a very strong start to the album, although also a bit risky: once these four tracks are over, I am thrust into the album proper, with no hope of an upcoming track whose familiarity I can take comfort in.
It’s lucky, then, that the first unknown track, White Eyes, is catchy as all hell, featuring familiar Wombats-esque playfulness with their new ‘grown-up’ edge which they seem to have adopted for this album, no doubt a consequence of trading in Liverpool for Los Angeles, something which Murphy touches on in I Only Wear Black.
While we’re on the subject of catchy tracks, which by now we all know is The Wombats’ bread and butter, some notable mentions must be made for Lethal Combination, Dip You In Honey and Ice Cream, with all of these tracks having successfully nested into my brain after just a couple of listens, and Dip You In Honey quenching my thirst for some twangly guitars, falsettos and Beatles style riffs.
As far as moodier songs are concerned on this album, you would think I Only Wear Black would be a contender from the title, but this one is surprisingly upbeat and dripping with their usual sardonic lyricism. Instead, I would say their moodiest track on the album is the finale, I Don’t Know Why I Like You but I Do. But, think less Isabel from Glitterbug and more Anti-D from This Modern Glitch. Its lyrics are heartfelt and candid, but the track is still punchy, with the mounting guitars and drums from verse to chorus being one of those things in music that you can’t quite put your finger on. Something about the way the highs and lows marry together, the way the tension builds and the song’s identity transforms from one thing to another creates some sensation that you can’t vocalise. I don’t know why I like it, but I do.