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Review: The Wombats - Fix Yourself, Not the World

The Wombats have once again solidified their place in the British indie rock hall of fame with their 5th studio album ‘Fix Yourself, Not the World’.

By Carys Donovan, First Year Geography

The Wombats have once again solidified their place in the British indie rock hall of fame with their 5th studio album ‘Fix Yourself, Not the World’. They have given us 40 minutes and 36 seconds of pure energy and pure emotion, proving exactly why they are still relevant 19 years after their formation.

The Liverpool-hailing trio were in good company during this album’s production with the likes of Mark Crew, Paul Meany and Jacknife Lee, who’s portfolios include working with the majorly successful bands of Bastille, Twenty One Pilots and The Killers.

Over the summer, The Wombats experienced a renaissance of their 2011 single ‘Greek Tragedy’ with the help of Oliver Nelson’s TikTok remix. The band lent into this trend, creating their own account on the app. They started to duet their fan’s covers, creating even more hype. The surge in popularity of this song helps remind us why The Wombats are an indie fan favourite, leading to even more anticipation for this new release. And it did not disappoint.

The album opens with ‘Flip Me Upside Down’, where the initial verse leaves us excited and curious for what not only the future holds, but what the rest of the album holds too. The pre-chorus then slows us down, forcing us to relish this moment, and not take the present for granted. The band allow a slight moment of comfort before we are truly flipped upside down by the chorus. We are absolutely blindsided by the return of the 150-bpm drumbeat and a new repetitive guitar riff; all while being overstimulated by electronic background effects and Matthew Murphy’s vocals. The chorus sounds and feels completely different to the rest of the track, with a different bassline and melody, and it’s almost impossible to predict Murphy’s vocal path. The journey of this song is the epitome of the album’s overarching theme: existentialism in a time where everything is also breaking down around us. It easily sums up the last two years and sets us up to question everything we expect when entering this album.

This overstimulation spills over into the next song ‘This Car Drives All by Itself’, in both the lyrics and the beat. In the bridge, Murphy and Jacknife Lee’s word play of ‘I see a tunnel at the end of the light’ reflect the feeling of disorientation in overwhelming situations. Backed up by a pressing electric guitar, a complex drum pattern and Dan Haggis’ genius use of the ride cymbal, we place ourselves in the narrator’s head. We experience his same dizziness as we too try to figure out how to regain control of the car (himself) but ultimately losing, hearing it drive off by itself as the song fades out. Murphy’s monotone voice in the opening verses misleads us into thinking this is a slow and simple song, once again shattering our beliefs when we hear the chorus.

‘Everything I Love Is Going to Die’ is the ultimate standout of the album. You can’t help but bop your head side to side as soon as you hear the beat despite the extremely depressing and existential lyrics. The euphoric melody and catchy chorus distract us from our disappointing reality and ultimate fate our narrator is obsessed by. It suitably relates to the neurotic ‘Worry’: the great finish to this project. The spoken introduction is startlingly relatable and personifies the anxiety we have endured throughout this unprecedented pandemic epoch.

With ingenious lyrics, carefully produced tracks and Murphy’s unmistakable vocals, ‘Fix Yourself, Not the World’ is setting up to be a classic, genre defining Wombats album. No track on this work of art is worthy of a skip. Encompassing everything we love about the band; this album should absolutely be listened to.

Featured image: AWAL

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