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Review: Glitterbug by The Wombats

The Wombats most recent album and some of their best work, Glitterbug, is aptly named, encompassing the overall feeling of the songs. Since forming, the usually indie rock band have taken on a persona of not taking anything too seriously. However, whilst listening to their new material we are led to believe that this is no longer the case.

The fitting title works well with the album, which entails a new sugary synth-pop genre and boasts catchy choruses and rhythmic beats. Their latest album, seemingly constructed for a younger audience, tells us of a typical love story between Mathew Murphy [vocalist, guitarist] and his lover.

Liverpool-born Matthew “Murph” Murphy, the vocalist and guitarist, wrote the album about a recent fictional relationship. The modern pop and house fusion delivers for the new-look UK band. It takes listeners on a journey, beginning with a display of overpowering emotions.

The sub-context of the lyrics detail the struggles of the modern day relationship, with each song resembling a different set of emotions.

The typical story of boy meets girl is conveyed chronologically throughout the album, highlighting the struggles of working through a metaphorical maze towards a girl’s heart.

Different stages are highlighted throughout the four headliners, and most popular songs, ‘Give Me A Try’, ‘Your Body Is A Weapon’, ‘Curveballs’ and ‘Flowerball’.

The story begins with the classic love at first sight. After Murphy comes across such a beauty, he expresses the desire for a chance to be given, as he sings, “This could be worth the risk, worth the guarantee. This could be the drug that doesn’t bite, just give me a try.” The romantic genre does a great job at retaining the listener’s attention.

Your Body Is A Weapon’, an up-tempo rock house part of the album, details the hardship convincing someone to fall for you.

“Your body is a weapon, love, and it makes me want to cry. My body is a temple of doom, doomed to not be by your side.”

The tasteful wordplay paints a scene of desperation. Although he is so in love, he’s beginning to doubt whether she is taking the relationship seriously.

The next stage of the story takes a welcome turn, as the perspective switches. The story is now narrated by the female in the relationship.  In ‘Curveballs’, the lyrics detail the woman’s struggles in coming to terms with her feelings for Murphy.

“And I can’t, I can’t keep, keeping up with these curveballs. And the more I try the more my backs against the wall,” she sings. “I’ll be over this soon but some images adhere like super glue.

As she tries to shake the thoughts from her head, she consistently ends up back in the situation she was trying to avoid.

Glitterbug, however, isn’t your typical fairytale. The album ends in a dark heartbreak, as the girl commits to ending the relationship. ‘Flowerball’, a dark trance track, details the shattering of the relationship. Like shattering glass, instant and shocking, the relationship is dead.

“Like a funeral needs an audience and a skeptic needs a church, it’s not fun unless it hurts.”

Overall, the switch is a breath of fresh air, bringing the band out of the shadow and into the light. The highly emotive themes throughout give us a sense of feeling without a physical touch or visual.

The playful word construction holds our attention, even though it drags on through the middle of the album. The Wombats have done enough to earn their success, but will have to keep up their new style of music in order to retain its popularity.

Hear The Wombats play to 20,000 people in Canberra at the Groovin the Moo festival on the 7th of May. 

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