The Wombats – This Modern Glitch


Artist

Album

This Modern Glitch

Label

14th Floor Records

Year

2011

Genre

For Fans Of

The Kooks - The Fratellis - The Arctic Monkeys

Summary

Has charm and some addictive hooks but relies too heavily on synthesisers and lacks explosiveness.

Rating

70 / 100

Like all bands releasing a second album after the immediate success of their debut, The Wombats found themselves, somewhat unduly, carrying the weight of expectation on their nimble and young Liverpoolian backs. Does the new album live up to the hype that the earlier-released singles hinted at? Are these three young upstarts still caught amidst the ‘love, loss and desperation’ shown in their first disc?

‘The Wombats proudly present…This Modern Glitch’ starts with a looped synthesizer and the sparse echo of lead vocalist, Matt Murphy in ‘Our Perfect Disease’, a track that describes a relationship as, you guessed it, a disease. It is a diverse enough opener, with quiet synth that is soon joined by a driving bass drum. The chords are catchy as Murphy admits cheekily, “we all need someone to drive us mad”, but this opener, like other parts of the album, seems to lack the explosiveness and energy of their debut.

Next are two of the singles ‘Tokyo’ and ‘Jump into the Fog’, which both have nice hooks and more synth introductions. The former has more appeal, with Dan Haggis’ drumming giving listeners something to dance about. Murphy also re-surfaces his knack for simple, clear and addictive lyrics which breed an honesty that makes them charming. He again gibes at a past love: “If you love me, let me go, back to that bar in Tokyo, where the demons from my past leave me in peace.”

‘Anti-D’ tries to follow the formula of a single but the charm is a bit worn on this one. It begins with a bizarre strings intro and adds the too-silly lyrics that can also be Murphy’s trap. His statement, “Please allow me to be your anti depressant, I too am prescribed as freely, as any decongestant” sees this track miss the mark as it fails to gel together.

‘Techno Fan’ is a more appealing follow-up, with trademark backup singing in the chorus that see this song recapture some of the energy from the previous record.

But it is ‘1996’ that jumps out as one of the most complete songs on the album. Despite another synthesiser introduction, one can’t ignore how addictive this song is from start to finish. The lyrical repeats from Murphy in the verse set up a brooding chorus that reflects on a past decade when things were easier for the now post-teenage Wombats: “Because now it feels like, we kiss with one eye on our TV set, the more I give, the less I get…bring back 1996.” Again, the type of simplicity used in Murphy’s delivery is nothing if not sincere, a man who knows no other way but to tell it straight. Coupled with one hell of a chorus hook makes this track vintage Wombats.

The album rounds off with a few fillers that are listenable enough but the overwhelming synth just gets too much. Closing track ‘Schumacher the Champagne’ has a unique chorus that works well as a semi-lilting power ballad of sorts. The end of this track is enforced by the long awaited arrival of some heavy guitar, be it only layering chords, which for once stand out above the clamour of the synth.

Conclusion

‘This Modern Glitch’ is a very listenable second album from The Wombats but it does miss the mark on several occasions. Whilst a few gems pop up on the disc, the others, despite being catchy at times, lack the energy and declarations that the previous release brought to the table. The excessive use of synth on the album is overwhelming but it’s re-assuring that when The Wombats decide to head down one path, they stick to it.

Tracklisting

1. Our Perfect Disease
2. Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves)
3. Jump Into the Fog
4. Anti-D
5. Last Night I Dreamt
6. Techno Fan
7. 1996
8. Walking Disasters
9. Girls/Fast Cars
10. Schumacher the Champagne

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