English indie rockers The Wombats have had quite the odd progression as a band. They transitioned from punk rock on their first album to more synth-pop with their second album and onwards. Despite this, The Wombats maintained a style of witty lyricism and enthusiasm analogous to The Killers, but with more of a synth-based sound. With their latest album release, “Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life,” their sound can’t help but feel a little stale.
This isn’t to say the latest release is awful at all. A lot of what helps this album stick together is lead vocalist and lyricist, Matthew Murphy. Murphy sells his feelings and lyrics on nearly all of the songs on this album. As per usual, his lyrics are poignant and sometimes humorous. The lead single uses the metaphor bringing a “Lemon to a Knife Fight” to highlight his struggles of losing a battle in a relationship.
The elements of a great Wombats album are there, but it feels rather underwhelming as a whole. A lot of that is due to the fact that songs settle with good grooves but no real progressions. The best songs on this album hold a consistent groove, such as on “White Eyes” or “Cheetah Tongue,” but they could’ve been a lot better if the sound evolved more. Also, this album dials back the more electronic elements of their previous albums, but also highlights how plenty of the guitar and drum progressions blend in with one another.
“Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life” does not bring out what makes The Wombats such a great group to begin with. It is admirable that the album tones back the intensity to play to a more mellow mood (with songs like “Turn” or “Out Of My Head” sticking the landing). However, if they expanded on this sound a little more, this could’ve turned out to be a great somber album. As it is, the new turn in The Wombats sound isn’t for the better.