“This tour has been a long time coming for us and it has been well worth the wait! The chance to finally play new songs from our 2nd album to people has seen 3 fairly large elephants slowly step down from our shoulders,” states The Wombats on their blog. That was back in March at the beginning of the trio’s trek through the U.K. In April The Wombats, including lead singer/guitarist Matthew ‘Murph’ Murphy, drummer Dan Haggis, and bassist/guitarist Tord Øverland-Knudsen, started back up with dates here in the U.S. and arrive in Colorado on May 4, playing The Black Sheep in Colorado Springs with The Static Jacks and Flagship.
For many (including moi), this is the first opportunity to hear live versions of This Modern Glitch, The Wombat’s 2011 release on Bright Antenna that fed the hungry fans who devoured the debut, A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation.
After dancing in our living rooms to “Kill The Director,” “Backfire At The Disco,” “Moving To New York,” and “Let’s Dance To Joy Division,” and reading about their 2008 NME Award for Best Dancefloor Filler,” and the intimate homecoming Liverpool Arena show for 10,000 fans, the sophomore release couldn’t have come too soon.
As the first single for This Modern Glitch, the accompanying video fills the screen with a fitting visual setting for the story of “Jump Into The Fog” to unfold. With a mix of vintage elegance and a setting where “life tastes sweeter when it’s wrapped in debauchery,” the song delves into the human condition, one that we view on a big screen directed by Christopher Nolan or on the front page of our Sunday paper. Anything is better than boredom, so why not take your $1,000 suite to the “kind of place you would bring your own UV ray,” as in a CSI-esque scene to scope for bloodstains, to feel one is still alive inside in some way.
“Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves)” breaks open with a balls-to-the-wall keyboard blast, and with the chorus’ hooks, we find ourselves pushing the pedal to the floor a bit more or running a bit faster ‘round the park.
I expect it was unintentional that the band is back in the club on “Techno Fan,” but this time it’s done in a way that’s woven with simplicity in context and melody where East London meets Northern Soul. There have been countless songs paying tribute to the bliss of dancing the night away with a level of defiance, and this one’s a keeper, fitting for a windows-down-blaring midnight ride.
And as one of my favorite years in music making, I couldn’t help but be drawn to “1996” by the title alone. Even the rhythm to the song’s beat is deep in the reminiscent realm, while drawing stylings from the ‘80s as well. Following the album’s release, remixes of “1996” arrived, giving us more dance candy to feed on.
The Wombats, while stepping up their orchestration game, crafting layers of keyboards, drums, strings, and Murph’s ever-persistent vocals, have also expanded the lyrical library. Ever the observers, the creativity behind how the song’s stories are laid out to the listener provide a deeper glimpse into what spins in the mind of the writer with each listen.
[UPDATE: This was posted by The Wombats yesterday…gets funny at the end as Murph reads the lyrics…watch and see. The only Limp Bisquick…er…Bizkit song I’ve enjoyed so thoroughly.]
In the end, and back to the immense imperfections of the human condition via This Modern Glitch, we take a trip through the beauty and the beast of today’s everyday life; the sorted side and dealing with one’s own demons or that of a lover, guilty pleasures (“Girls/Fast Cars”), to the simple desire to tell someone to take off because we’ve spent $20 quid and an hour in line, and fuck all, we’re gonna boogie our butts off until the bouncer yells, “You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here!” and the DJ throws on John Denver cut our groove.
For the month of May, exclusively on Amazon, you can pick up This Modern Glitch for the price of a cocktail: only $5 bucks. Brilliant.
UPDATE: While on tour with The Wombats, The Static Jacks will be releasing the “Spray Tan” E.P. digitally this month. Listen now to a track from the E.P., “Young Guns,” on Soundcloud and check out some behind the scenes footage from the “Young Guns” video here:http://youtu.be/NwMpTIxD4v0.
May 1 Fine Line Music Cafe – Minneapolis, MN
May 2 The Beaumont Club – Kansas City, MO
May 4 The Black Sheep – Colorado Spring, CO
May 5 Kilby Court – Salt Lake City, UT
May 7 Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA
May 8 El Rey Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
May 9 The Casbah – San Diego, CA