Hailing from Liverpool, England is a collective of three musicians that make up the indie-pop/rock band that call themselves The Wombats. The band had reached critical acclaim with their hit single release “Let’s Dance to the Joy Division” from off of their 2007 album A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation. And it is early February this year that they’ve delivered their first full studio length album in three years, with their fourth album release entitled Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life.
Their new entry opens up with their new album’s third single, “Cheetah Tongue”, which is a song about surrendering to the myriad pressures and the failures of maturity and adulthood and accepting the asphyxiating feelings that you find yourself succumbing to. In the track’s chorus, “The Wombats” lead vocalist Matthew Murphy sings “I cut off my head and my cheetah tongue. I can’t think straight and my mouth is numb. Don’t shut your eyes ’til we fade to black. ‘Cause maybe this time the good stuff could last” which are arguably the most creative lyrics in an otherwise mostly lyrically uninspired track, though the songs pulsating synths and acoustic breakdown in the bridge does give the song some much-needed flair and saves it from being entirely mediocre.
The next song, and their first single, “Lemon to a Knife Fight” alternatively offers an endlessly catchy tune, that aims to stay stuck in your head for days. Not only that, the lyrics of this song do a great job of projecting a picture in mind that plays like a film composed of scenes of water-colour paintings. “Hero to zero, I pick up the bill. The brake lights cast a red light. And the road twists round the hill. Lipstick on the backseat, saliva on the dash. I’ve clawed my way out of here before, but I keep on coming back” though it has a similar message to “Cheetah Tongue” in that it is a song about combating your personal scrimmages and ultimately failing, it does a much better job of presenting its meaning through its words and through its music.
Later on is the shortest track in “Lethal Combination.” This song is one of the more toned down and tranquil sounding songs on the entire album, which presents itself as a tasteful and awkwardly romantic indie-pop treat. “We’re a lethal combination, too lost for therapy. Guilty by association, I’ll keep you close to me. Baby, let’s go and get blind tonight. I’ll hold your hair back and you’ll hold mine.”
The Wombat’s Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life is neither groundbreaking nor is it an entire failure of musicianship. In its eleven song track list there are moments of greatness scattered throughout, with songs such as “Turn”, “I Don’t Know Why I Like You but I Do”, “Lethal Combination”, “I Only Wear Black”, and “Lemon to a Knife Fight” that demonstrate just what type of music the band is great at delivering, but oppositely, the album has just as mainly bland tracks which eschew the indie pop flavored nostalgic feelings of coming of age that the band have previously made themselves known for, which wouldn’t be too much of a problem if it felt like an evolution of their sound. Instead it mostly feels the same, but ultimately not as memorable.