TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2007 |
From the moment the first hi hat hits that oh so overused up beat, it might seem all too tempting to cast The Wombats latest EP (Kids) off into dance punk purgatory; a sort of place where Brandon Flowers’ ego pathetically wilts away in a cage, Radio 4 must listen to the horror their post-Gotham! releases have inflicted, and Bloc Party have that all-of-the-sudden-seriousness eternally tickled out of them with a feather. Except a funny thing happens on The Wombats way to hell…that ridiculously recognizable beat gets set to deliciously boppy and hilariously confessional three-minute pop songs worth taking a second take of.
A twenty-something lad who hasn’t managed to shake that horribly awkward teenage fear of beautiful women, Matthew Murphy spends the duration of the EP outlining examples of his chronic struggle with those born with two X chromosomes. From episodic slap-ups (over making a “move when it was well out of context”) on dramatic disco dates (“Backfire at the Disco”), to the fear of staring in a real life rom com (“Kill the Director”) Murphy plays a topsy-turvy lovelorn fool on all five original tracks offered here. Pining for his “Little Miss Pipedream” on the appropriately titled track, the cutesy chimera carouselling ‘round his head goes as far as sounding a bit pathetic… especially given the disaster of a woman the object of his desire appears to be.
Such subject matter should gain a little sympathy headed Murphy’s way. Yet it’s a little too easy to shelve it all in the face of A) such a saucy sense of humor, and B) slap happy tunes that make the listener put Murphy’s romantic follies on the back burner. With handclaps, whistling, accordion, and jingle bells, “Little Miss Pipedream” is as childish sounding as Murphy’s crush, and his disasters generally play out to giddy as fuck hi hat work, run away tempos, and guitar riffs that flop around like a beached octopus. In other words, these Liverpoolians package their songs with all the energy that made this tried and true throwback of a genre worth listening to in the first place. Plus, the fidgety fucker actually manages to squeeze himself out of one of his girl crazy predicaments in “Moving to New York”. Singing “Looks like Christmas has come early this year”, you get the feeling Murphy hardly minds if the listener pokes fun at all the pointless, love sick hoo ha he puts himself through. Just don’t poke fun of his band. The Wombats make the kind of rash and rambunctious music that may have you giving the entire scene a second chance. - David Pitz