WOMPS pay homage to the stylings of some modern legends on their debut album.
Glasgow-based garage-rock duo WOMPS are certainly ones to watch. Their journey from bagging groceries in order to fund their dreams to being booked to play SXSW this year seems to have happened overnight, and the release of the group's debut LP will only help them on their way. Their new record, Our Fertile Forever, kicks off in a quintessential millennial rock style -- the guitars are distorted, but controlled. The music is hook-driven, bursting with a slightly geeky energy and radiates all the angst you'd expect from their aforementioned experiences as Glasgow grocery workers.
At least, that's how the record begins. Two of the singles, “Plasticene” and “Manners”, touch on the work of the Strokes and Weezer, and the intricate drum work pitted against basic chordal elements even recalls Blink 182 at times. However, the album begins its descent into a rawer mood very early on. Just as we're beginning to warm to their style, the band make the risky decision to keep their boppy guitar work, but they sub their vocals out for more distorted, angsty ones. The Weezer vibe remains at times. “Dreams on Demand” is very reminiscent of LA's original nerd rockers, but from about a third of the way through the album, it becomes a case of “heard one, heard them all.” The style will certainly appeal to some listeners, but the energetic positivity of the guitar work and the monotonal, disaffected vocals are too contradictory to be effective. Weezer, on the other hand, were able to get away with their overly upbeat guitar work by complementing it with similarly positive vocals. Sadly, the match-up is too jarring for WOMPS.
This issue could have perhaps been avoided by waiting a few tracks to descend into those feedback-laced vocal stylings. As it is, however, this set feels as if the band have recorded the first three tracks and then decided to completely change their vocals, without altering the other tracks at all. The result is a lack of consistency which rapidly becomes nauseating. This repetition becomes especially hard to handle after having heard just how effectively the band could pull off a more controlled, yet still creative, style in the opening portion of the album.