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A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation

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Album Review

The growing trend in post-millennial Brit-pop bands seems to favor embracing the style's inherent disposability. Rather than going for a Damon Albarn-like arc of stylistic exploration, more and more U.K. bands are shooting for that one great three-minute pop single that overshadows everything else they will ever do: the Kaiser Chiefs' "I Predict a Riot," Dogs Die in Hot Cars' "I Love You 'Cause I Have To," the Fratellis' "Flathead," Little Man Tate's "Man, I Hate Your Band," et-bloody-cetera. In the case of the Wombats, the three-minutes pop single in question is "Let's Dance to Joy Division," a genuinely swell bit of tongue in cheek new wave revivalism that's by far the best part of the Liverpool trio's debut album. In the tradition of fellow Scousers the Scaffold or Half Man Half Biscuit, there's a heavy dose of humor to the Wombats, who started out as much an improv comedy/performance art act as they were a pop band. Indeed, the album starts with the nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is doo wop pastiche "Tales of Girls, Boys and Marsupials" before righting itself with the spunky pop-punk of "Kill the Director." Jokey material like the herky-jerky ode to schoolboy crushes "School Uniforms" and the self-consciously smutty tale of unrequited love "Patricia the Stripper" lowers the overall tone. It's not that there's anything wrong with humor in music — Madness, one of the Wombats' most obvious touchstones, wrote some hilarious songs — it's just that the funny songs are neither particularly side-splitting nor particularly tuneful. Songs like "Backfire at the Disco" balance the yuks with catchier melodies and less of a sense that these guys are one step away from putting on moose-antler hats and giant sunglasses. The Wombats may surprise us all and turn out to be a band for the ages (did anyone really think Beck would turn out to be one of the great songwriters of his generation the first time they heard "Loser"?), but the just-for-a-larf vibe of A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation suggests otherwise. [A CD/DVD version was also released.]

Customer Reviews

Best indie-pop album for a long, long time

This album is superb. They've been compared to the Pigeon Detectives, Kaisers et al but these guys have so much more depth to them than those bands and if there's any justice they'll be bigger than all of them. It's got the perfect mix of instant classic pop singles to hook you in (Backfire at the Disco, Lost in the Post, Let's Dance to Joy Division, My First Wedding), and layered songs that reveal themselves over more listens (the amazing Little Miss Pipedream, Here Comes the Anxiety, Patricia the Stripper). An astoundingly accomplished debut

A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation

having loved the wombats singles, i thought it may be a bit of a gamble just buying their album, but my my my, a gamble that has payed off. have listened to the album once and its fantastic. the lyrics are brilliant, something special, whoever wrote them is a fantastic songwriter, and the tunes and riffs are just fantastic. Songs that relate to real life and have some substantial meaning, rather than some wailing women going on about an "umberela-ella-ella" or someones love who just happens to keep on bleeding. This is songwriting and music at its near best, a brilliant album, definatley worth the money, and one of, and if not, one of the best albums i have certainly heard this year. Brilliant album, buy it, you shall not regret it.

One seriously outrageouly fun album

The wombats are one of those rare bands that combine the best bits of bands that you already love. For me it combines the hectic and jumpy beats of the klaxons (despite not quite capturing the new-raveness of the band) the reflective love genre of Scouting for girls (read Little miss pipdream: telling line: "id cheat a priest just to get to you) and the impossibly clever lyrics arctic monkeys. Tracks like (my personal fave) Dr Suzanne Mattox PhD and school uniforms really hammer that point home. They also bed to draw conparisons with the pidgeon detectives for their liverpool backgrounds alsthough i belive the Wombats are a deal more upbeat. This really is a must have album for anyone who loves their songs to really get them up on thier feet shouting out stupidly addictive lyrics. Go buy

Biography

Formed: 2003 in Liverpool, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

British indie rock trio the Wombats make driving guitar post-punk and electronic-influenced pop. Formed in Liverpool in 2003 while the members were all attending the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, the Wombats feature vocalist/guitarist Matthew Murphy, drummer Dan Haggis, and Norwegian-born bassist Tord Øverland-Knudsen. In 2006, the Wombats released their debut single, the Japan-only "Girls, Boys and Marsupials." Several singles followed before the release of the band's 2007 debut album,...
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A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation, The Wombats
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