We don’t admit it, but we’ve never seen eye to eye…
If I were to ask you what songs the Wombats played, you’d be able to list off at least two, right? Even if they weren’t toyour musical taste. Now imagine if I’d asked you that question a year ago, prior to the release of The Wombats Proudly Present: This Modern Glitch… Do you think you’d have been able to answer it then?
The Wombats’ rise to fame has been a sudden one. Within a week of their second release dropping in Australia, the relatively unknown band became a household name, with the record reaching number two on the Australian album charts.
This Modern Glitch… certainly turned heads when the first two singles were released prior to the album. “Jump Into the Fog” and “Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)” were dropped earlier this year with much anticipation. Being a long time fan (since way back at their debut, The Wombats Proudly Present: A Guide To Love, Loss and Desperation I had expected more of what I heard in that tantalisingly beautiful debut – that is to say: punchy guitar lines, increasingly clever lyrics and choruses that are just dying to be sung along to at a festival.
Instead, they gave us, more or less, a synth-pop album with occasional glimpses of their previous self. Saying I was shocked would be an understatement. Gone, I thought, were the days of classic indie hits “Moving to New York” and “Let’s Dance to Joy Division”. Fortunately I went back on these words and gave their second release another chance, to draw me back into the magic that they wove so well for me in their debut.
Let me tell you now, I am glad that I did.
What started out as an album that stood as all I disliked about the music industry quickly turned into the most frequently played CD in my ever-growing collection. From the opening chord of “Our Perfect Disease” to the secret track at the end of “Schumacher the Champagne” the album takes you on a personal journey, detailing everything lead-guitarist and singer Murph’s battle with anti-depressants (“Anti-D”) to his longing to drown his troubles somewhere where he wouldn’t be known (“Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)”). But don’t be thinking that this album is depressing and will remind you of The Cure. Despite being a cited influence, the record brings some happier themes.
Murph preaches at you, ordering you to “tell your mother that you love her dearly” (“Walking
Disasters”) and that even last place is worth celebrating (“Schumacher the Champagne”).
Lyrically, the Wombats are as sharp as ever, regularly placing words into melodies that most
rappers would never dream of using. A real highlight is the slow synth-rock of “1996” which reflects upon a simpler time in everybody’s life, when “concerns were with prankcalls”. Speaking of simple things, “Girls/Fast Cars” is a song that shines from beginning to end, discussing the materialistic concerns of modern society.
This album taught me to never be worried for the Wombats. The Wombats will always raise the bar. For a record that is so easy to listen to, they discuss some very complex themes to a sophisticated level. Whenever they come back to Australia, you’ll be seeing me jumping around like a maniac at the front of the crowd, I hope I’ll see you there too.