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THE WOMBATS‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ (Album Review)

The Wombats

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This year, The Wombats are shaking things up a bit. You may know the British trio from contagious hits such as “Moving To New York”, “Greek Tragedy” and “Tokyo – Vampires & Wolves”, however this year, the band have gone back to basics in their latest venture Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life. Previous albums like The Wombats Proudly Present A Guide To Love, Loss & Desperation and Glitterbug have taken The Wombats to selling out 2 nights at the Sydney Opera House, top 5 albums in the US, the UK and Australia and over 3.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify with their clever words and electronically-influenced pop. But stripped is the infectious sounds of synth, but what has stayed from The Wombats previous concoction to success makes Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life The Wombats’ best work to date.

We are kicked into this world of The Wombats with single “Cheetah Tongue”, a song that foretells what is to come. It’s extremely percussion heavy, with a constant baseline and guitar licks that will crawl in your ear and stay there for days. However, the lyrics that have gotten The Wombats to where they are now still exist – they lie in intense imagery and references to later songs in the album like “Black Flamingo”. Frontman Matthew ‘Murph’ Murphy’s relatable lyrics like the chorus closer “Don’t shut your eyes till we fade to black ‘cause maybe this time the good stuff could last” only foretell what’s come and that is outstanding track after outstanding track.

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The Wombats

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We then get into the familiar parts of the album, including all the singles that have got us to this point in time. There’s the radio-friendly “Lemon To A Knife Fight”, which scored #22 in this year’s Hottest 100, and the iridescent “Turn” which had come to be a fan favourite, deserving to become the single from the new romantic coming-of-age film. We also see their most recent release “Black Flamingo” within the first third of this album, which sees a mature version of sounds from their debut album which went gold in the ARIA charts and Platinum in their home country. The lyrics are straight to the point yet extremely relatable and telling to the story of Murph settling down in married life.

There’s many contrasting moments on Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life that grow on you over time. It starts with the choppiness of “White Eyes”, which attempts to be a soft guitar-driven song during the chorus, but is truly as dark as it’s lyrics during the verses. “Lethal Combination” is an extremely different track to the rest of the album with Murph’s lovesick lyrics and contagious pop that you can’t help but sing along to. And then, there’s “Out Of My Head” with it’s gut-punching chorus and extremely dark indie-pop clinging onto you during the reminiscence of dependency throughout this album. But there’s something you can’t deny during these vastly different songs, and that’s the fact that Murph, bassist Tord Øverland Knudsen and drummer Dan Haggis know how to make music that sticks to you like gum on the bottom of your shoe.

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The Wombats

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The final third of this album is full of what The Wombats do best – indie-pop goodness that makes you feel as happy as you would be on a road trip on a hot summer day. “I Only Wear Black” brings piano based spine with happy instrumentals and depressing lyrics like “Spring in my step, knife in my back”. “Ice Cream” and “Dip You In Honey” are classic The Wombats tunes that have been given a mature revamp. The choruses pack a punch but the extravaganza of instrumentals that The Wombats bring to each album are muted, yet it works immensely well in their favour. However, the icing on this sticky sweet album lies in closer “I Don’t Know Why I Like You But I Do”. It’s melancholic energy rounds out the album smoothly as an entity. It really expresses the idealism of marriage in three minutes and forty-nine minutes in a shoe gaze type of sound, something very out of the basic element of The Wombats but something that shows the edge of maturity for the trio.

In regards to the connection between Glitterbug and Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life, Murph has stated, “The last album was about me meeting someone and my life going upside down in Los Angeles, partying too hard and getting myself in trouble. This album is about me battling against that, trying to live an adult life. And failing.” And this new album is exactly that. The whole album is a snapshot of marriage in modern life whilst keeping the best parts of The Wombats and revamping themselves into a new entity. The Wombats are back, they’re on fire and there’s no way to put it out other than to join the bandwagon. The only question is, are you ready to dance through the flames of Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life?

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AMNPLIFY – DB

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