Showing posts with label the wombats. Show all posts
Showing posts with label the wombats. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

video review: 'beautiful people will ruin your life' by the wombats

Okay, this was... underwhelming. And kind of really disappointing, but hey, I've got Franz Ferdinand up next, so that should connect, right?

Anyway, Billboard BREAKDOWN will be dropping tomorrow because it's still rendering and I need sleep - stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

album review: 'beautiful people will ruin your life' by the wombats

I said there were a lot of albums coming out in February I was anticipating - and this is next up on the docket.

And this might surprise some people, given that The Wombats don't exactly have a sterling critical reputation. Oh, they won critics over in a big way with their debut A Guide To Love, Loss & Desperation with its nervy brand of post-punk and indie rock that seemed a little wilder than many would expect, but they took steps towards conventionality on their next two records, even venturing more into synthpop. But here's the thing: despite thinking their debut is probably still their best work, their 2015 project Glitterbug was remarkably strong, with huge hooks, a ton of energy, and a refreshing amount of maturity in their songwriting and framing - hell, that record and a few songs from it made my year-end lists!

But I will say I was worried about this album - early singles hadn't really stuck with me and let's be honest, the 80s-inspired synthpop that drove Glitterbug is nowhere close to the same preeminence it was three years ago, which likely means the band evolved again... but into what? Part of The Wombats' fundamental appeal was their energy and ability to swerve, but they're a band that have been together a long time and age does creep in - and while The Wombats have always gotten some mixed reviews, this time it looked like slowing down had hurt them even more. In other words, even though I had a lot of high hopes that this would kick ass, I was also setting myself up for possible disappointment - so what did we get?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

the top albums/songs of the midyear - 2015 (VIDEO)

Almost forgot to put this video up. This was a ton of fun, really did love making this - always nice to talk about music that's actually all sorts of awesome.

So next up is Billboard BREAKDOWN, and then finally I might have time for this new Vince Staples... stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

the top album/songs of the midyear - 2015

Last year when I put together this list, I was debating its very relevance. I mean, would it give away what would turn out to be my top albums of the year overall, or would it find an audience at all?

This year, the debate was different: I knew I had to do a midyear review for 2015 because there was so much quality that came out in the front half of the year that I'm honestly a little concerned I'm not going to get a chance to highlight it all. Between comebacks that delivered in spades, debuts that blew my mind, and records that seemed to have an abundance of creativity more than I would have ever expected, the first six months of 2015 have been overwhelming strong, to the point where keeping my list of albums to twelve was insanely difficult. It'll be incredible if the rest of the year keeps up this momentum, but for now, here is my top albums of 2015, thus far:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

video review: 'glitterbug' by the wombats

Not quite as amazing as their debut, but still awesome and definitely worth your time all the same.

Next up... hmm, decisions, decisions. Stay tuned!

album review: 'glitterbug' by the wombats

It's one of the weirdest things about music throughout the years, and something that the more you think about it makes less and less sense: how power pop just isn't successful on mainstream radio.

I mean, sure, you might get the occasional hit from bands with enough of an edge to rock out but a penchant for the strong, sticky hooks that pop music needs, but they seldom stick around, even in years when you'd think they do well. Take the pop rock boom of the mid-2000s, the heyday of Fall Out Boy and My Chemical romance and Green Day: you'd think mainstream radio would have been desperate to snatch up more bands that were willing to take fast-paced guitar-driven rock and present it with a more polished, anthemic package, but success tended to be limited, especially if the band had a quirky, indie edge that hadn't yet become popular.

Such was the case for The Wombats, a Liverpool-based indie band that broke out with their debut album A Guide To Love, Loss, and Desperation. Like many of the indie acts of the time, you could see the lineage of their sound - the jangly production and overwritten lyrics reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys crossed with the warped, jagged, and yet oddly theatrical styling that recalled a lot of Modest Mouse and Franz Ferdinand, especially with the frenetic drumming and bass harmonies. But The Wombats stood out against all of those bands for me, mostly because frontman Matthew Murphy was able to convey an air of sheer panic so well to match lyrics drenched in over-detailed working class heartbreak and wasn't afraid to toss on some lightweight backing harmonies to cut the sting a little. It helped the band had a solid sense of humor and idea of scope: the topics were pure pop idealism, and they worked to build off of that, and made one of the most intensely listenable and fun albums of 2007.

Unfortunately, it wasn't a formula that was destined to last. Four years later they dropped This Modern Glitch, and while the idealism and energy was still there, it wasn't quite the same. The writing didn't seem as sharp, the energy was less raucous and wild, and while the addition of synthesizers worked well enough in a way reminiscent of The Killers, I couldn't help but feel that The Wombats didn't need to become a cleaner or more polished band, no matter how much some of the guitars snarled. Some could argue it might have been a sell-out move... except it didn't take them any further in the mainstream. So when I heard that not only was the band staying with that direction, but even losing some of their trademark humor, I really had a bad feeling about this. Would Glitterbug end up being the album that breaks The Wombats but at the cost of what made them special?