Three years after their last release, The Wombats are back with their long awaited fourth album ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’. Since ‘Glitterbug’ reached number 5 in the charts in 2015, the Liverpudlian trio’s popularity and success has increased by the day. With a string of immensely successful indie-pop anthems behind them, does this album live up to expectations? Clearly the answer is subjective, but if you want to hear my opinion, carry on reading. I have been a fan of The Wombats since the release of their debut album, ‘A Guide To Love Loss & Desperation’ in 2007 when I was merely 10 years old, and to this day, I honour their music when I can at parties and pre-drinks. When they announced the release of ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’, I was excited, but now, all I can say is this: I don’t dislike the album, but I don’t love it, and therein lies the problem; it’s not particularly special. Some songs are great, some are not.
This album taps into a truly unique theme: relationships. A theme no band has ever explored before. It is an overall enjoyable listen, easy on the ears and very upbeat maintaining the classic Wombats 80s/90s vibe we have known since ‘A Guide To Love Loss & Desperation’. However, unlike their previous anthems ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’ and ‘Greek Tragedy’, only one of the supposedly ‘big’ songs on this album have feet anywhere near big enough to fill the boots of these classics; ‘Black Flamingo’. This starts very strong with an original sounding opening and an enjoyable chorus and verse. The whole song has a sort of revamped Kaiser Chiefs feel about it, and a Kaiser Chiefs Wombats collab is something I would very much like to see. The other ‘big’ songs are ‘Cheetah Tongue’ which starts strong and evolves into a pretty good song with catchy chorus lyrics and the backing music of a late 90s/early 00s Brit-Pop hit and the comical yet serious ‘Lemon to a Knife Fight’ follows, with, once again, an extremely catchy chorus and the punch of a party banger. These songs do have the potential to fill the vacancy of the next ‘Tokyo’ and ‘Flowerball’ if they are played loud enough.
Now, I know bands take influence from other bands, that’s how music works, but in this album The Wombats may have gone slightly too far. To say the song ‘Dip You in Honey’ was influenced by The Beatles’ ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ would be the understatement of the century, and as for ‘Ice Cream’, well this borderline plagiarises ‘Age of Consent’ by New Order (which is probably why it sounds so good). I urge you to listen to these songs and if you disagree with the comparisons I have made, please do tell me.
It’s a shame. When they supported headliners The 1975 on the NME Stage at Reading Festival in 2016, their immense fan base, myself included, made ourselves well and truly known. There is no doubt the loyal and devoted among us will continue to love the Wombats, but I just can’t help feeling slightly disappointed at this album’s unoriginality. Having said all this, it won’t stop me from queuing at least three of the songs from this album on Spotify at the next pres.