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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 19, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Review: English indie group explores effects of long-distance love in new album

"Glitterbug"

The Wombats

The Wombats, an indie-rock trio based out of Liverpool, England, released their third album, “Glitterbug,” on April 3. The romantic-comedy vibe of the album highlights lead singer and guitarist Matthew Murphy’s long-distance relationship with a girl from Los Angeles while he was in England, which began after the band’s second album was released in 2011. “Glitterbug” strays away from the previous album’s optimistic party lyrics with this pleasing, yet unremarkable album, using the long-distance metaphor as a lament of their lack of American fans.

The band takes a more serious tone in this album, which differs greatly from the whimsical melodies of The Wombats’ two previous releases. This style change plays against The Wombats, as they fall into the stereotypical rut of a broken-hearted, indie-rock band. The trio is seemingly done with the party scene and is ready to settle down with heartbroken tunes like “This is Not a Party” and “Pink Lemonade,” but this moody shift has caused the band to lose some the vigor of its former songs.

As well as portraying his romantic saga, Murphy is also issuing a desperate call to American fans, as the band has yet to make it big stateside. This is shown when Murphy plaintively sings, “We could be gigantic” at the chorus of “Give Me a Try” and in “Your Body is a Weapon,” when Murphy questions how LA could ever love “a creep like me.” Though it’s been producing music since 2003, the group has yet to be as successful in America as many of its numerous indie-rock counterparts, and its forlorn longing is starting to show.

The highpoint of “Glitterbug” is “Your Body is a Weapon,” an upbeat song that shows how Murphy pined over a girl who never returned his feelings for her. This track really gives insight into the group’s experiences with LA and its love/hate relationship with the city and its people. “Give Me a Try” is another gem on this album, as the band tries to persuade both the girl and American fans to literally give it a try. The bubbly beat of this song complements the catchy lyrics, making this one of “Glitterbug’s” top hits.

While this is just another English indie-rock band using love songs to lure in the American audience, The Wombats deliver an enjoyable, yet underwhelming album with “Glitterbug.”