Future indie. Algo-rhythm. Drainpipe pop. Call it what you want, but Spotify’s idea of alt-rock is undoubtedly a thing, and The Wombats have evolved over the course of their four albums to become the epitome of its marriage of guitar pop and subtle hints of EDM, where everyone lives these days apparently.
It works – their crowd at 2pm is easily among the biggest Other Stage audiences we’ve seen, and one of the liveliest for a day one afternoon too – “I know it’s early on in the festival but we do encourage you to lose your shit right now,” singer Murph advises before a frantic ‘Techno Fan’, and it duly complies. Glasto, it appears, has gone utterly Wombatshit.
It’s easy to see why. Look past the corny name and the comedy crowd banter – drummer Dan Haggis introduces Glastonbury to a stuffed squirrel with anxiety issues called Steve, and singer Murph offers to set up business with the people holding a “smell my cheese” flag – and The Wombats deliver impeccable and confessional ultramodern alt-pop that aims for both heart and feet, and rarely misses.
Tracks like ‘Give Me A Try’, ‘Lemon To A Knife Fight’ and streaming monster ‘Greek Tragedy’ merge leftfield and mainstream in a way Bastille can only dream of, while the new wave-y ‘Moving To New York’, ‘Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves)’ and the indie funk mania of ‘Let’s Dance To Joy Division’ – complete with visuals of hordes of wombats popping out of the ‘Unknown Pleasures’ artwork and a stage invasion of dancing marsupials – have endured as indie-pop dancefloor staples.
Murph’s open-diary lyrical tales of clubland misadventures, dinner party rows and sleazy, desperate one-night stands are meaty and bleakly comic enough to be fondly relatable too, making for a set as warm as the weather. “We hope Monday isn’t too hard for you,” Murph says as the set rattles to a close, “when you’re crying into your laptop, give us a call.” Look out for that Monday morning Wombats streaming bounce.
NME also caught up with Murph to talk Glastonbury regrets, working with Dan Bastille and the legendary Wombar.