Release Date: Apr 26, 2011
Record label: Bright Antenna
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
The Wombats' 2011 sophomore effort, This Modern Glitch finds the gleefully cynical Brit trio delivering a batch of catchy, immediately memorable dance-rock tracks the likes of which haven't been heard since the glory days of Blur and '90s Cool Britannia. Mixing the literate, biting social critique of Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner with Blur frontman Damon Albarn's jaded eye for ennui in the modern world, the Wombats have crafted their own would-be classic 21st century masterpiece. Frontman Matthew Murphy, an avowed skewer of pop culture trends since 2007's A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation, retains his humorously cynical yet wide-eyed lyrical gaze, which brings to mind both Peter Sellers' and Ray Davies' personas of comedic intellectuals relenting to the debauched party atmosphere around them, which they don't quite approve of but can no longer ignore.
British indie-rockers The Wombats are back with This Modern Glitch, a more danceable, darker output than 2007’s A Guide To Love, Loss & Desperation. The 17 tracks on A Guide, except for the barbershop-quartet-style opener, all fit the energetic British indie-rock vein, similar to The Mystery Jets and The Kooks. It’s full of high tempos, angular guitar riffs, repeated chants and quick-twitching bass lines.
Review Summary: These inconsistent Wombats will release a great Best Of compilation one day.While the subject ranges from trivial to an integral bone of contention, it is always interesting to see what songs an artist (and/or their label) release as singles. One can imagine many a back-room debate concerning the decisions, with internal power struggles, hypocritical principles and objective adjudicators all a possibility to enter the process. One band who has found an effective way to circumnavigate such discussion is Liverpudlian indie-poppers The Wombats.
Contrary to appearances – the cheeky-chappy demeanour, the catchy tunes – there was little irony to the title of the Wombats' debut album, A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation. Although glib on the surface, its songs were rooted in a bleakness that went on to consume frontman Matthew Murphy in a quarter-life crisis, fuelled, rather than relieved, by antidepressants. Four years later, This Modern Glitch documents Murphy's anxieties with deliberate, self-absorbed honesty and the prosaic rawness of recent experience.
As a lonely child, I recall several occasions where I took a jumbo-sized Pixy Stix, cracked it in two, and shook every morsel of dextrose into my tiny mouth. I did this, mind you, knowing full well that at the bottom of this sugar high would be more of life’s trivialities and a stomach ache. And from listening to their new album This Modern Glitch, I can tell the lads of The Wombats had a similar childhood.
Britain’s Wombats are throwing a dance party, and desperately want you to join in the festivities. Despite its frequently-mopey lyrics, the trio’s second album This Modern Glitch is a bright, shiny thing, a reflection of the group’s newfound fascination with synths as well as the sonic manifestation of the sheer existential joy of being in an upwardly-mobile rock ensemble. Transparently crafted as the soundtrack to some endless indie disco night, This Modern Glitch is undoubtedly a good time record.
While out promoting some latter-day [a]U2[/a] album or other, Bono once proclaimed (likely with a straight face) that, “We’re reapplying for the position of best band in the world”. Limitation-aware young scamps that they are, [a]The Wombats[/a]’ ambition for their second album is far more modest: ‘[b]…This Modern Glitch[/b]’ finds them aspiring to nothing loftier than nightwatchmen at the indie landfill. Congratulations boys, the job is yours.
Despite managing to find their own comfortable niche – being too unremarkable to ever be someone's favourite band but quirky enough to soundtrack student union indie nights across the country – The Wombats looked set to be remembered, at best, as a landfill indie act. However, their second album could see that change, as the band have ditched the guitars and got in über-producer Jacknife Lee in a bid to boldly reinvent their sound. Or to make a (very) late attempt to cash in on nu-rave.
The pop album of the year, by at least a dozen choruses. Mark Beaumont 2011 Just as comedy actors, no matter how massive their crowd-draw or how enjoyable their movies, stand a popsicle-in-Hell’s chance of ever winning an Oscar, it’s virtually unthinkable that the second album from Liverpool’s The Wombats will grace the higher echelons of any end-of-year polls or the Mercury shortlist. They cross too many boxes – they’re shamelessly radio-friendly and insanely melodic, they have a ‘wacky’ name and they’re simply too popular/ist to garner much of a credible critical vote.
In the wake of the Libertines’ 2004 demise, young British guitar rock took on a less dreamy, more direct voice. Arctic Monkeys were their everyman heirs in 2006, and acts such as the Holloways, Good Shoes, the Pigeon Detectives and the Rifles also dominated the pages of the NME with wryly observational songs about girls and drinking. Sprightly sounds combined with sardonic voices were the trend, and some bands did it better than others–twee-punks Los Campesinos! have been able to take this into more intelligent, literate territory, as well as maintaining relevance with their prolific record release rate.