“the album is predictably dominated by tales of heartache, self-doubt and drugs”Kobalt Music Group

Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life is The Wombats, but not as you know them: the punk-pop agitation of A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation (2007) is a distant memory for this album, the sound is more streamlined than This Modern Glitch (2011), and synthesisers that were such an integral part of Glitterbug (2015) have faded into the background. Instead, frontman Matthew Murphy said this is an effort to try and make an album “that at least had the chance of being timeless”, and the result is a valiant attempt at indie-rock. 

The singles released thus far are not necessarily the strongest tracks on the album. ‘Lemon to a Knife Fight’ is repetitive, unprogressive, and forgettable; ‘Cheetah Tongue’ is an improvement, a catchy detailing of the failure to deal with the pressures of adulthood expressed in a song with a neo-nineties feel. ‘Turn’ is stronger still, with a rare electronically driven sound plucked straight from Glitterbug, as the lyrics tell the tale of an emotional whirlpool regarding a confusing relationship.

 ‘Black Flamingo’, ‘Ice Cream’, and ‘Out of My Head’ are the unreleased standouts. Unusually for this album, ‘Ice Cream’ is instrumentally full and rhythmically varied, with atypically assertive vocals. ‘Black Flamingo’ and ‘Out of My Head’ brilliantly combine the trademarks of The Wombats with slick contemporary arrangement and production, vaguely reminiscent of Suck It And See-era Arctic Monkeys. All brilliantly catchy, these tracks are where the decision to test out a more organic indie-band sound paid off.

Other tracks on the album are distinctly average though, with ‘Lethal Combination’ feeling like a disappointingly generic piece that would not sound out of place as a piece of mainstream pop. ‘I Don’t Know Why I Like You But I Do’ had the potential to be a solid rock ballad, but is undermined by a dragging chorus, and ‘I Only Wear Black’ has awkwardly theatrical echoes. Few albums are good from start to end, but whereas This Modern Glitch and Glitterbug were in this exclusive category, there are tracks in Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life that it’s perfectly acceptable to listen to once and never again. 

“This album probably won’t attract the legions of new fans that previous ones have done”

Lyrically, little has changed throughout the fifteen years of The Wombats’ music, and Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life is no different: the album is predictably dominated by tales of heartache, self-doubt and drugs. This is understandable, perhaps, given that The Wombats are famed for their songs about coming-of-age struggles, but while it would therefore be unfair to expect them to sing about anything else, their music will, as a result, always predominantly resonate with a younger audience, even when the instrumental arrangement becomes more mature.

This album probably won’t attract the legions of new fans that previous ones have done, not least because the singles are proving no where near as enduring as those from the first albums and hence will receive less publicity. But, existing fans and those who stumble across the singles by chance, might be prompted to look at the Liverpool trio in a new light; regardless, with multiple dates on their upcoming European and American tours already sold out, the fan base looks to be as strong as ever.


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Until now, The Wombats’ path of progression seemed set in stone, with a continual refinement of their signature indie dance-pop sound being clearly heard in their previous albums. Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life diverts from this path, however, in a gamble that has not fully paid off. The quality of tracks on this album is inconsistent, ranging from very good to mediocre, although luckily the balance is weighted towards the former. Perhaps Murphy should not have focused on making a “timeless” album, for the band’s most enduring and iconic hits (‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’ and ‘Moving to New York’) have become timeless in their own right without any intervention; that being said, Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life does have strong points which will undoubtedly satisfy those who have been patiently waiting for The Wombats’ return

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