Album Review: The Wombats: Fix Yourself, Not The World
Cora Davies reviews The Wombats’ latest album.
Fix Yourself, Not the World marks The Wombats’ newest venture in indie-rock, injecting elements of electro-pop and EDM into their staple sounds. The release of single, ‘if you ever leave, I’m coming with you’ marks the release of their fifth studio album, written and recorded through lockdown. Frontman Matthew Murphy talks about how the album stands out to him and his bandmates as it was recorded from each of their respective homes in different cities, a difficult feat in such difficult times. As a personal long-time listener of the wombats, this album just hits the mark. The music is evolved but still retains that quintessential, wombats-esque sound that so many fans hold dear. The lyricism remains weird and wonderful and the upbeat tunes provide amazing head-bopping material. By holding launch shows up and down England, fans (including myself) were able to listen to the album in its entirety the week before its release.
a real kickback against the feelings of sadness and depression felt by so many others these last few years.
The album opens with ‘Flip Me Upside Down’, a chaotic track that keeps listeners on their toes with a chorus that contrasts the verses with a different, faster, bassline and melody. The song explores themes of boredom within the ordinary and the rush of something new, creating a captivating and energetic bop: the perfect opener that leads quite seamlessly into ‘This Car Drives All By Itself’ which captures the feelings of being completely out of control whilst maintaining a steady sound. ‘If You Ever Leave I’m Coming With You’ had already become a fan favourite before the album was even released and it’s safe to say I got crushed at the album launch when song number three began… its upbeat, melodic, and pretty easy to learn so its no wonder crowds go wild. ‘Ready for the high’ pushes The Wombats’ boundaries a little I would say, with the typical bass and guitar-dominated verses but highly contrasting horn-dominated bridge. This fits nicely with Murphy’s choice of falsetto verses and deeper chorus. ‘Method To The Madness’ follows a much slower, much sadder sound contrasting to the other songs on the album. As the fifth track, it provides a momentary comedown from the chaotic energy of its predecessors. This sadness doesn’t last long, however, as the second half of the song witnesses the lead singer fighting back against the sadness saying, ‘no construction, I’ll build it myself’ and ‘I’ve killed it with both hands’. The track mirrors this crescendo with heavier drums and bass building in the background along with layered vocals, building up to the tipping point in the song’s final minute – a real kickback against the feelings of sadness and depression felt by so many others these last few years.
And into yet another upbeat number, ‘People Don’t Change People, Time Does’, an Americana-inspired song that reflects on how hopes and dreams don’t always work out. However arguably, the highlight of the album for me is the next song – ‘Everything I Love Is Going To Die’ which may sound bleak and depressing but is eternally upbeat and boppy only further adding to the emotional complexity of their music. ‘Work Is Easy Life Is Hard’ follows a similar ideology only with more of those weird and wonderful wombats lyrics including ‘why don’t you chop my tongue out and then put my insides inside a jar’, playing on that feeling of being used or inspected. The next two songs ‘Wildfire’ and ‘Don’t Poke The Bear’ are quite repetitive, with Wildfire consisting of a shouty chorus that is very satisfying to scream live. These songs are clearly inspired by classic early 2000s indie – a niche we already know that they can nail.
The penultimate track of the album, Worry’ begins with Murphy talking about how he worries about everything before throwing us into the catchy song where he sings about superstitions and how they bring comfort. The chorus repeats the phrase, ‘it’s not paranoia if it’s really there’ which I think really resonates considering our recent ‘unprecedented times’ (let’s hope to never hear that phrase again). The album then closes with ‘fix yourself, then the world (Reach beyond your fingers) – a mainly instrumental track that sings ‘I don’t wanna lose myself in someone else’s game’, ultimately bringing a beautiful close to the album, perfectly encompassing the feelings of existentialism and how small one can feel in such a big wide world.