Music Reviews

Album Review: The Wombats – Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life

Following their hugely successful third album, Glitterbug, reaching the top 5 in 2015, The Wombats are back with their most anticipated album to date. Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life brings a familiar sound that will satisfy indie fans, harking back to the synth heavy previous album in ‘Lemon To A Knife Fight’, whilst evolving their sound and bringing a fresh album that combines everything great about The Wombats.

The album centres on the theme of adult relationships, reflecting their maturity as a band, having been together for fifteen years now. This same maturity is felt in their sound, honing in on Matthew Murphy’s smooth vocals that have brought them such success in the past, combined with their widest musical variety to date, showcasing everything from Psychedelic to Sunday afternoon.

“Cheetah Tongue’ combines a strong drum beat with a hypnotising Psychedelic guitar riff”

The heavy, beat driven first song, ‘Cheetah Tongue’ starts the album with a bang, followed by their first single, ‘Lemon To A Knife Fight’ which is equally high paced. They both combine the energy of the first album A Guide To Love, Loss & Desperation, with the iconic synth sound we recognise from Glitterbug. ‘Cheetah Tongue’ combines a strong drum beat with a hypnotising Psychedelic guitar riff. Its lyrics are as confused as its clashing sound, presenting Murphy’s puzzling search for meaning in adulthood, but an acceptance that we don’t need to understand.

Following the unfamiliar ‘Cheetah Tongue’, ‘Lemon To A Knife Fight’ is an instant Wombats classic, having amounted almost 5 million Spotify listens by album release on February 9th. It’s catchy, fun and everything you want from an indie band. It combines lyrical intensity and intrigue with the upbeat guitar riffs we’ve come to know and love from the Wombats. Overall, it is a straight up anthem.

“It has a more chilled vibe than its predecessors”

They then change the pace with ‘Turn’, the second single released. With over 5.5 million listens it is currently their most popular single on the new album. It has a more chilled vibe than its predecessors. While the first two songs express the uncertainties of adult life, this is a nostalgic ballad, stating “It won’t get better than this”. This juxtaposition keeps the album feeling original and exciting. It changes once again with ‘Black Flamingo’. The upbeat guitar riff is quintessential Wombats with a poppy dance feel, followed up by Post-Punky ‘White Eyes’ with a hooky bassline and strong beat. This is like no other song they’ve produced before, feeling very refreshing.

‘Lethal Combination’ breaks up the heavier songs in the album, with a confident indie pop style. Being the shortest song on the album, it strikes a perfect balance of offering a pause without ruining the flow. It’s a feel good song that contrasts ‘White Eyes’. We then return to the big, bold sounds with ‘Out Of My Head’. For the first time The Wombats draw on funk as an inspiration. This new direction is a prodigious success, generating one of the most exciting songs on the album. It transports us back to the 60s and 70s with a chic-esque bassline. This kind of variety is prevalent throughout the album, so there’s something for everyone.

‘Ice Cream’ brings nostalgia for the old-school Wombats with their trademark bouncy feel-good indie vibes, reminiscent of early Circa Waves. This will be the first song on my Summer 2018 playlist. The buoyant riff and lively synth flourish, creating the ultimate summer tune. This positive energy is continued into ‘Dip You In Honey’ displaying Murphy’s vocal range and charming falsetto.

“It brings an energetic, funky bassline”

They say save the best ‘till last, and although the final track, ‘I Don’t Know Why I Like You But I Do’ may not be the best song on the album it is certainly close. It brings an energetic, funky bassline with an equally cheery lyrical display leaving us feeling good by the end of the album.

The criticisms I have of the album are of ‘I Only Wear Black’ and ‘Dip You In Honey’. The grinding conflict between the major guitar riff and the minor keyboard melody, in combination with the melancholy lyrics and monotonous vocals in ‘I Only Wear Black’ miss the mark for me, however, I commend them for trying, since this is arguably the most experimental song on the album. As for ‘Dip You In Honey’ I cannot find any particular fault in it, but it just isn’t memorable compared the high quality of the rest of the album.

Overall, I would say this this is the best album of the year so far, eclipsing Don Broco’s Technology. The songs are consistently exceptional, excluding the two previously stated. It is rare for an entire album to be so exemplary both melodically and lyrically. I would highly recommend this album. Even if you’ve never listened to The Wombat’s before, it is a great place to start, coming in at under 40 minutes in total.


James Hurman

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Image Courtesy of The Wombats Webpage

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