The Wombats – Glitterbug
Review of The Wombats’ new album, Glitterbug.
Embarking on album number three, Liverpudlian indie rockers, The Wombats, have fully embraced the glossy synth pop sound toyed with on previous LP This Modern Glitch. Nearing their thirties and with the tenth anniversary of debut A Guide To Love Lost And Desperation approaching, the band appear to be a shadow of their former, angsty selves.
‘Glitterbug’ shines through Matthew Murphy’s enigmatic lyrics, which appear to have luxuriated with age. Murphy’s genius is transparent in synth laden tracks ‘This Is Not A Party’ and ‘Pink Lemonade’, exhibiting lyrics such as “why does this happen every time I dream in technicolour and live in black and white.” Bouncy radio friendly hit, ‘Give Me A Try’, couples the band’s usually quirky hooks with an influence of blissful ’80s pop. ‘Greek Tragedy’ follows this trend and introduces some haunting falsetto and poignant lyrics “she hits like ecstasy, comes up and hits the sense out of me”.
The record isn’t without its flaws, however, as tracks such as ‘Be Your Shadow’, ‘Headspace’ and lead single ‘Your Body Is A Weapon’ are largely skippable, breaking the album’s flow and contriving quite a disjointed experience. ‘Your Body Is A Weapon’ was released for fans in October of 2013 but does little to excite, staying in close range of the band’s usual formula.
Retrospective of their post-punk days, ‘The English Summer’ admittedly feels a little misplaced and more like a forgotten B-side from their ageing debut. Stripped down love ballad, ‘Isabelle’, is enriched with some beautiful harmonies and focuses solely on Murphy’s afflictive vocals, a welcomed break from Glitterbug’s many synth-cluttered numbers.
Although not perfect or necessarily The Wombats’ finest, Glitterbug is still a welcomed return for the erratic three piece and their venture into synth pop territory is intriguing. The number of throwaway tracks is easily atoned for with valuable new additions to the band’s catalogue, making it not one to miss.