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The Wombats - A Guide To Love, Loss And Depression

Wombats Proudly Present A Guide To Love Loss And Desperation

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

THE Wombats are another indie pop-rock act that seem to have the uncanny knack for writing incredibly catchy songs, all shot through with an infectious scouse wit.

Debut album A Guide To Love, Loss & Desperation is a witty collection of dancefloor-filling indie pop gems that are loaded with savvy pop culture references, angsty coming-of-age observations and utterly infectious hooks.

Born in 2003, The Wombats came together when Liverpool natives Matthew ‘Murph’ Murphy (vocals, guitar and keyboards) and Dan Haggis (drums, vocals) met assimilated Viking Tord Overland Knudsen (bass, vocals) at Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts.

Three limited sell-out singles on indie label KIDS and a host of rapturously received live shows later and The Wombats found themselves the focus of a bidding war that resulted in their subsequent signing to 14 Floor Records in April.

Since then, the band really has gone from strength to strength, winning friends in live form and crashing the radio airwaves on a regular basic thanks to the easy accessibility of brash hits such as Kill The Director and Let’s Dance To Joy Division. Both tracks, incidentally, rate among the album’s highlights.

But it’s the cheekiness inherent in the lyrics that really provide the winning factor. And their joy de vivre is evident from the outset thanks to the harmony-laden album opener Tales of Girls, Boys and Marsupials, with its hand-clap, finger-clicking beats and stripped back vocal layering. It’s a winning opener that suggests we’re in for a treat.

Kill The Director follows with its wonderful opening line “I’ve met someone who makes me feel sea-sick”. It’s a fast, manic guitar-based rocker that endears with its head-rush combo of “woo-hoos” and “if this is a rom-com, kill the director” chorus.

Moving To New York opens with an engaging guitar riff, a drum roll and an off-kilter waltz that maintains the early momentum, Lost In The Post delivers a winning combo of electronics and guitars that come together for a strong chorus, and Party In A Forest (Where’s Laura)? opens with another gem of a line in the form of “am I in a scene from a Midsummer Night’s Dream?” It’s a sprawling power-ballad of sorts that shows they’re capable of as much songwriting maturity as youthful energy.

Thereafter, the album continues to engage. Here Comes The Anxiety is a vibrant tale that’s underpinned by darkness and doubt, Let’s Dance To Joy Division is as fun and dancefloor friendly as its name suggests, and Little Miss Pipedream strips things back with another stop-start melody and some excellent vocal harmonising. It’s an off-kilter love song that really does engage the listener.

Patricia The Stripper is a saucy performer that begins with a rollicking guitar riff and more foot-stomping drum beats, while the wedding bell intro of final track My First Wedding brings things to a supremely satisfying finale complete with more satirically biting lyrics (“this is my first wedding and I hope that it’s my last, things would be fantastic if me and the bride didn’t have a past”).

The Wombats have therefore delivered a cracking little debut album that really does hugely entertain.

Download picks: Kill The Director, Lost In The Post, My First Wedding, Let’s Dance To Joy Division, Tales of Girls, Boys and Marsupials

Track listing:

  1. Tales Of Girls, Boys And Marsupials
  2. Kill The Director
  3. Moving To New York
  4. Lost In The Post
  5. Party In A Forest (Where’s Laura?)
  6. School Uniforms
  7. Here Comes The Anxiety
  8. Let’s Dance To Joy Division
  9. Backfire At The Disco
  10. Little Miss Pipedream
  11. Dr. Suzanne Mattox PHD
  12. Patricia The Stripper
  13. My First Wedding