The Wombats: The Wombats

An EP of dance-happy songs about 20-something girls by 20-something boys who don't understand them.

The Wombats

The Wombats

Label: Kids
US Release Date: Available as import
UK Release Date: 2007-08-27

So, let's say your 20-something years old. You're a guy. Maybe you're English, but you could just as easily be American or Australian, Canadian or Welsh. You're basically a pretty happy person. You've got plenty of friends, you go out, have a good time, there's dancing, parties, drinking, girls. Yup, everything's going pretty swimmingly. Well, except for maybe that last one. Girls are the one thing that can still make you feel like you're back in high school again, all sweaty and awkward and stupid. And now, let's say that you've got a little free time on your hands and you decide to form a band. Well then, you might just sound like Liverpool's Wombats.

The trio's self-titled EP is made up of five songs about just that very feeling. The best of them are self-effacing and charming; with lyrics about trying you’re best with the ladies but screwing everything up anyway. Leading the charge is the opening track, "Backfire at the Disco", is about a date that goes along fine until they hit the dance-floor and he blows it. "It was a chat-up line built not to impress", lead singer Matthew Murphy sheepishly admits to start the second verse. "More a sleazy remark on her whorish dress", before he continues into the chorus: "It backfired at the disco / She slapped me at the disco".

And "Backfire the Disco" isn't alone. It's quickly followed up by "Kill the Director", which has a fairly similar theme. It opens with Murphy singing, "I've met someone who makes me feel seasick", and lamenting the fact that he can't have her before getting to the catchy chorus: "If this is a rom-com / Kill the director / Kill the director". Now that's a chorus a single, 20-something lad can sing along to. A few tracks deeper into the record, "Little Miss Pipedream" is less dance-oriented than the other tracks on the EP. But it’s equally memorable for its bittersweet lyrics about dating someone so out of your league that you don't feel like you can complain when she starts sleeping around with other guys.

And it's the self-effacing charm of lyrics like those that will make you remember the Wombats instead of the actual music. Musically, they really aren't doing anything all that special or original. The EP features the kind of beat-centric, dance-happy, guitar-riffing tunes that we're all used to hearing from the indie-types these days. It's not necessarily such a bad thing since the hooks are catchy and the beats are danceable. But on the songs whose lyrics aren't as immediately loveable, there's little to differentiate the Wombats from the scores of other dance-rock indie bands flooding the MySpaces and's of the world. Though the lyrics to "Moving to New York" and "Lost in the Post" are still about young unrequited love, they aren't quite as clever and memorable as some of the others, and those songs, as a result, are pretty forgettable.

Of course, if you're already a Wombats fan, you probably already know all this. Chances are you already have all of the songs included on this latest EP. Each of the five tracks have been previously released, most as singles and then again on 2006's Girls, Boys and Marsupials full-length album, (with the exception of the sixth track, a remix of "Kill the Director"). And while you have to wonder why the band and their label felt the songs needed a third release, it is a solid effort, functioning as a sort of Greatest Hits. So for anyone who isn't already a fan, but thinks they might like to be, The Wombats EP is as good a place to start as any.


Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less

If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

Keep reading... Show less

Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.