Album Review: The Wombats – ‘Proudly Present This Modern Glitch’

A triumph for mediocrity

While out promoting some latter-day [a]U2[/a] album or other, Bono once proclaimed (likely with a straight face) that, “We’re reapplying for the position of best band in the world”. Limitation-aware young scamps that they are, [a]The Wombats[/a]’ ambition for their second album is far more modest: ‘…This Modern Glitch’ finds them aspiring to nothing loftier than nightwatchmen at the indie landfill. Congratulations boys, the job is yours. Now, when can you stop?

OK, that’s cruel. The Liverpudlian trio’s debut was possessed of a certain hummable charm that made them 2007’s guilty pleasure du jour. Trouble is, most of ‘…This Modern Glitch’ – despite trying hard to replicate that charm by making everything faster and synthier – is fit only for padding out mid-afternoon festival sets. Listen to ‘Walking Disasters’ or ‘Techno Fan’, and you can almost see the bucket-hatted drunk dozing by the sound desk, hear the sobs of a 16-year-old who’s lost her friends, and smell the rained-on chips.

There are a few exceptions. In spite – or perhaps because – of its deeply awful lyrics (“Please allow me to be your antidepressant/I too am prescribed as freely/As any decongestant”) the string-laden Britpop balladry of ‘Anti-D’ is certainly one. ‘Jump Into The Fog’s sleazy synth-pop and the nagging ‘Tokyo (Vampires And Wolves)’ are the others.

Those three songs recapture the melodic nous of the band’s early singles, but the rest of the album sounds like it was written to soundtrack the opening montage of a particularly loathsome Hollyoaks. Still, let’s not feel too sorry for them. The Wombats have aimed low, and in its own special way, ‘…This Modern Glitch’ is a triumph for mediocrity.

Barry Nicolson

Order a copy of The Wombats’ ‘This Modern Glitch’ from Amazon