Music Review: The Wombats

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reprinted from my tumblr blog, originally posted 2012

So I’m not going to bore you with all of the background of this group other than to point out that The Wombats are a trio with two members from Liverpool, UK and the third from Norway. This is important, as these influences seem really clear on the sound of this group. Which is sort of this really great mesh of eighties pop, nineties sass and modern technology.

Yes, the synth is predominant, but so is the drum. And this drummer is rocking. It is strong and clear throughout the entire disc, really pushing every song into the next and very much the backbone of this group.

Lyrically, it is fun – it’s not rocket science, nor is it intended to be – this disc is, to me, clearly meant for summer listening. Top down, hot night in the city when everyone else is doing the exact same thing so you crank it really, really loud to try to hear it over all the other city noise. But that’s where this album shines – at high volume, preferably singing along with the very strong hooks with a bunch of girlfriends jumping from bar to bar late on a Saturday night.

The entire disc seems to really flow well from track to track, but there are definitely some really strong standouts; Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves), I think may be my favorite on this album right now. It’s just an incredibly fun song that is my official sing-along track at the moment. It really plays off that strong hook I mentioned above and reminds me of all these great parties I used to get invited to in all sorts of fun places (before I had my daughter)!

Techno Fan was my very first exposure to this group and I was hooked on first listen. Once again, The Current was the catalyst to picking up a really amazing new band and this track just evoked all of these really great feelings – some nostalgic, sure. But, this also makes me want to look forward and make new and even better music memories. That feeling that you get when you get lost in the groove and let everything go to something emotionally powerful.

Jump Into The Fog is more of a sweet love song – or as much of one from a group like this – for they still don’t compromise their core sound or give the reins over to some ballad fairy to garner the teenage set fandom. There is still an adultness to the lyric, in spite of the fun of the balance of the record and hopefully is a preview of things to come from this group.

The other real standout on this album for me is 1996. This track most definitely brings back serious memories of what I was doing myself that year – living in Manhattan, going to parties, meeting really interesting people…getting pregnant. And realizing that this group does have it correct;

’Cause now it feels like we kiss with one eye on the TV set – and the more I give, the less I get – we need fairground rides just to spark a smile – this little hit to miss – bring back 1996…

So often, especially in the music business of today, bands aren’t allowed to really grow and mature. If they do not produce solid hit after hit, they’re dropped. They’re not allowed to make creative mistakes anymore, learn from them and grow. I sincerely hope that whomever The Wombats are signed to allows them to do just that. To continue to grow and explore their sound, because these guys have the potential to really stick around for a very long time.