Indie pop band The Wombats lack progression in sound with new release, “Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life”


Livvy Cohen, Editor-in-Chief, Entertainment Editor

When a band has been putting albums out for over a decade, listeners would most likely expect to witness progression, growth and change in artistry. But from indie pop band The Wombats, that hasn’t seemed to be a case.

“Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life,” released on Feb. 9, is their 4th official release in the past decade, and while it was all in all an impressive album, it sounded exactly like the rest of their discography.

Don’t get me wrong—their 2015 release, “Glitterbug,” stands as one of my favorite albums from this century, but I can only listen to it so many times. I was craving a new sound from The Wombats, but instead, this album seemed like a continuation of “Glitterbug” rather than an advancement of their career.

The opening track, “Cheetah Tongue,” sounded like it could have been featured on any of their past albums. It was good, but repetitive, with the majority of the track being purely the chorus backed by electric guitar and raspy drums paired with lead singer Matthew Murphy’s recognizable (and very British) voice—a staple sound of The Wombats.

There didn’t seem to be much hope as I was listening through the album for the first time. The first four songs were previously released as singles, which I didn’t really appreciate as a long-time fan. I prefer for albums to start off with an unrecognizable bang; that’s what typically fuels my excitement when listening to albums for the first time. This instead led to boredom when I was playing “Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life” from the start. 

Many tracks on this album seem to be chart-topping seekers, with not very much substance to it. Once I reached “Lethal Combination,” however, I ended up listening to it on repeat before I even finished the album. With an attention-grabbing rhythm paired with bitterly beautiful lyrics about toxic relationships, this song replenished my hope for this album, returning my faith in The Wombats.

And the excitement didn’t stop there. The very next song, “Out of My Head” had the perfect mixture of rock and funk, helping transition between various genres on this album. It still stuck to the typical sound of The Wombats, but they are successful for a reason—their catchy, rhythmic sound.

The Wombats were evidently taking inspiration from iconic rock band The Strokes on parts of this album, especially during “I Only Wear Black.” At moments it was eerily reminiscent of The Strokes’ lead singer Julian Casablancas’ electric, distorted vocals paired with repetitive guitar progressions.

Overall, “Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life” was favorable, but nothing new for a long-time listener of The Wombats. Even new fans, after taking the time to delve into past releases, might easily get tired of their sound. There were a few tracks that did save this album, however, and I definitely will still follow The Wombats in years to come to see where their career takes them. Hopefully next time, though, there will be more evidence of growth in their music.