The Wombats – Fix Yourself, Not the World
In many ways, The Wombats can be regarded as one of the unluckier bands in music. That’s because they emerged from Liverpool to national fame in around 2007 – just as the British guitar renaissance of the 2000s was beginning to wane. As a result, they were often lumped in with other inferior, less interesting rivals with whom they shared student union playlists, but who lacked their more eclectic influences or sense of fun. 15 years on, though, it’s The Wombats who are still around, and enjoying something of a second coming in terms of popularity, following their well-received third and fourth albums, Glitterbug and Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life.
As with many bands, the followup Fix Yourself, Not the World could be described as their lockdown or pandemic record, sprinkled as it is with references to the strangeness of the past two years and a more experimental intent. Although financially devastating to many musicians, an enforced period off the road has allowed The Wombats to take stock and find creative inspiration. For the Liverpudlians the result is a record that brings out influences that were always there: New Wave bands, the likes of The Cure, Joy Division (famously referenced in a 2007 hit) and New Order, as well as LCD Soundsystem, and Radiohead.
Funky opener You Flip Me Upside Down and This Car Drives All By Itself are simple melodically but lifted by some skilful appropriation – RnB in the former case and EDM in the latter. But both borrows have the same effect, elevating frontman Matthew Murphy’s songwriting and vocals into something more euphoric than the sum of their parts.
If You Ever Leave I’m Coming with You is a traditional Wombats banger, with Murphy’s endearing tones playing off jaunty riffs. Ready for the High then combines rockier sensibilities with a falsetto vocal line to good effect. Single Method to the Madness provides a melancholic thematic centrepiece to the album, in some ways a companion to the meditative closer and title track.
What comes in between is a combination of vintage Wombats and a broadening of horizons with Work Is Easy, Life Is Hard, with its hints of mid-90s Prodigy fare, a standout example of the latter, and Don’t Poke the Bear at the Zoo showcasing their more traditional sound.
All in all, Fix Yourself, Not the World proves why The Wombats have endured while many contemporaries haven’t or have fallen back to the nostalgia circuit, as it combines a keen sense of what makes for a great festival or indie bar singalong with more depth and creative inclinations.
Fix Yourself, Not the World is released on 14th January 2022. For further information or to order the album visit The Wombats’s website here.
Watch the video for the single If You Ever Leave, I’m Coming with You here: