Monday, May 26, 2008

Album Review: The Wombats - A Guide To Love, Loss and Desperation

He has a passion for calligraphy and can speak Whale. His favourite holiday destination is Luxembourg and at night he turns green. At any rate, our resident stripey cardigan-wearing music buff Marky Mark (and the indie bunch) knows a thing or two about what a good album maketh. This week:

The wombat (Vombatus ursinus) is an Australian marsupial, known for its nocturnal feeding habits, peculiarly bony bottom and rare ability to defecate cubed nuggets, despite the seemingly contradictory possession of a standard, round anus. However, the Liverpudlian trio collectively titled The Wombats contain few similarities to these aforementioned herbivores. Instead of feeding at night, they play instruments. Instead of bony bottoms, they sing of prostitutes, postmen and Shakespeare. And, instead of defecating cubed brown crap, they freely release rounded golden gems of pop songs – as evidenced on their debut album A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation.

Album opener ‘Tales of Boys, Girls and Marsupials’ is a harmony-laden a cappella repetition of its very title. Following on is a scathing, poptastic condemnation of romantic comedies, ‘Kill the Director’ (Bridget Jones being the chief suspect, poor Sharon Maguire). ‘Moving to New York’, the album highlight, details a sleep-affected party freak who remedies his nocturnal tendencies by changing time-zones.

It then slows up for tunes such as ‘Party in a Forest (Where is Laura?)’ and ‘School Uniforms’, but the leaping springs again with the fun (yet rather blasphemous) ‘Lets’ Dance to Joy Division’ and ‘Backfire at the Disco’.

A British indie craze has swarmed our radios and magazines for the last few years, but few groups have actually stayed for more than 12 songs, let alone been any good in the first place. Judging by ‘A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation’, the Wombats may just be the exception.

(Ed note: my personal fave of the past year! Stupid band name, great songs. I challenge you to not dance along to it, or at least sing along loudly at the trafic lights with your window down without realising, then turing around in a valiant ffort to blame the hideous honking emanating from your throat on the truck in the next lane).

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