London-based indie-rock trio The Wombats first formed in Liverpool in 2003 when lead vocalist and guitarist Matthew Murphy, drummer Dan Haggis, and bassist Tord Øverland-Knudsen were attending the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts.
Before they were signed, they became the first unsigned group to sell out Carling Academy Liverpool (now known as 02 Academy). Three years after their formation, the band released their first single, “Girls, Boys, and Marsupials,” along with a few other singles before coming out with their debut album, A Guide to Love, Loss, and Desperation, in 2007. This album features much of the rock-heavy influence of the early 2000s (think early Fall Out Boy), complete with strange, un-explainable song titles. Unfortunately, Murphy was not happy with the outcome of A Guide to Love, Loss, and Desperation commenting, “It was pretty disparaging to be lumped in with that ‘landfill indie’ thing, being surrounded by other bands in company that I wasn’t really too happy being surrounded by, or that I thought we were better than.”
This Modern Glitch their sophomore album, was an opportunity to change that. For The Modern Glitch they featured production from notable names in the rock genre including Eric Valentine, Butch Walker, and Jacknife Lee to distinguish themselves from other groups in their genre.
Four years after the release of their second album, they released Glitterbug which featured popular singles “Greek Tragedy” and “Give Me A Try.” For this album, they went with a more electronic pop sound that sets this album apart from their other more alternative sounding albums. Glitterbug was quite successful in the U.K. and Australia and gave them their first entry into the U.S. top charts. My favorite song from The Wombats, “Greek Tragedy,” makes a splash in Glitterbug with its use of mystical, twinkling beats, guitar, and drums, reflecting the more pop-oriented shift they made in their sound.
Their newest album, Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life was released this year and produced by Mark Crew (Bastille) and Catherine Marks (The Killers). They go back to their instrument and rock-based roots with this album and Murphy states that, “I think there was kind of an element of taking things back to the first album, although the first album kind of sounds like a million miles from now.” Though it includes more elements of raw music rather than electronic production, there’s an undeniable pop sound to this album, creating a perfect balance between the two styles they’ve experimented with.
They’ve performed at various different festivals, such as Reading and Leeds festival and Glastonbury festival, and have shared the stage with Ringo Starr. They also had their own TV show on Channel 4 called “Je Suis Un Rock Star.” In March, they’ll start their tour promoting their most current album, visiting both Europe and the United States. They are also set to appear as an opening act for thirteen shows on Weezer and Pixies’ North American tour starting in June.
(Sources: AllMusic, Echo, NME)