ALBUM REVIEW: The Wombats – Fix Yourself, Not The World
Photo Credit: Tom Oxley
Over fifteen years into their career, The Wombats are in the small minority of indie bands that have managed to stay relevant beyond the genre’s peak. From frontman Murph’s craft for witty songwriting (something that has proven him one of the best writers the indie scene has ever seen, since the band’s 2007 debut album A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation), to balancing their ever-evolving success with latter albums This Modern Glitch (2011), Glitterbug (2015) or Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life (2018), there is one thing above all else that has made these mid-noughties indie-rock staples not just a band you rely on for nostalgia.
The recent viral success of Oliver Nelson’s remix of the trio’s most streamed track to date, Greek Tragedy, was a TikTok sensation, exposing The Womabats to a whole new generation of Gen Z’s, bathing in the band’s biggest hits but also riding high on their newer stuff too. That’s where The Wombats‘ latest LP, Fix Yourself, Not The World, comes into play.
Flirting with their former selves indie ways, but diving headfirst into their future sonic experimentation with a cheeky modern pop twist, the gleaming Fix Yourself, Not The World witnesses one of Britain’s most beloved bands still producing some of their best material to date, with the utmost introspection, character and charisma.
Putting their first foot forward with a funky tune, opener Flip Me Upside Down is crafted to get crowds bopping at concerts. Spurts of funk-punk burst in and out of the song with boundless levels of energy, paired with catchy guitar riffs, fun-filled jangles and Murph’s instantly addictive vocals, that will even get those with two left feet throwing shapes like there is no tomorrow.
The first track that finds The Wombats foray into disco-esque territory, alongside latter track People Don’t Change People, Time Does, is latest single This Car Drives All by Itself, which is ready for the disco ball lit floor. Despite its upbeat persona, full of clean and polished pop production, its lyrics are far from the fun you might find at such a place. The song analyses how we, as humans, often lose control of our own destinies, but why we should trust the universe’s judgement to eventually steer us in the right direction. There is no backfire at the disco here with this groovy number.
You know when we said that Murph is one of the best songwriters the indie scene has ever witnessed? Well If You Ever Leave, I’m Coming With You is testament to that title. “You know I’ll do whatever you want me to/Throw a banquet in a moshpit/I’ll get out of bed, stop listening to Radiohead/Take you out of this, your reluctant optimist,” sings Murph in the song’s first verse, tongue-in-cheek lyrics with a universal relatability about everyone’s levels of optimism that may have skyrocketed over the past two years. It’s lyrics like these that have helped The Wombats speak to the many that hang on their every word. The track has the sonics to match, as Tord’s spirited bass and Dan’s crystal clear drums come together with the infectious, electro-pop sound of the synths. It seems that If You Ever Leave, I’m Coming With You has all the classic, instant hit qualities to be as big as Greek Tragedy.
Throwing some punk fire into the mix comes Ready for the High, bursting to the brim with scuzzy rock, high verse falsettos and instrumental outbursts that border on punk territory. Ready for the High is raucous, boisterous and untameable within its post-chorus eruptions.
Method to the Madness was the first taste of Fix Yourself, Not The World. The subdued slowness and relaxed nature to this one flows like a river on a pensive day. Its keys and bass grooves, glowing with a vintage scene as if it has just stepped out of a Hollywood black and white movie in the 30’s. But, by the time the track reaches its climaxing moment, colour bursts into the picture in full bloom, the pace picking up and finishing with a rage that has been concealed for the best part of three minutes.
Excluding jangly bop Everything I Love Is Going to Die, the remainder of the record is made up of unheard songs that span the genre-spectrum, a direction that The Wombats are clearly heading in. Whether that be the tambourine indie of Work Is Easy, Life Is Hard, the singalong pop of Wildfire or the hazy rock of closing track Fix Yourself, Then the World, The Wombats are widening their sonic horizons on and wow, does it sound good.
Standout Tracks: Flip Me Upside Down, If You Ever Leave, I’m Coming With You, Ready for the High, Wildfire, Worry
For Fans Of: Bloc Party, The Kooks, The Vaccines, Two Door Cinema Club
Written by: Katie Conway-Flood