The Wombats
This Modern Glitch


3.0
good

Review

by DaveyBoy EMERITUS
April 30th, 2011 | 88 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: These inconsistent Wombats will release a great Best Of compilation one day.

While the subject ranges from trivial to an integral bone of contention, it is always interesting to see what songs an artist (and/or their label) release as singles. One can imagine many a back-room debate concerning the decisions, with internal power struggles, hypocritical principles and objective adjudicators all a possibility to enter the process. One band who has found an effective way to circumnavigate such discussion is Liverpudlian indie-poppers The Wombats. Quite frankly, the distance between the cheeky trio's best and worst tracks on their debut LP was so immense, that even Deaf Jeff could choose which - and in what order - tunes would be let loose upon the masses. So when killer lead single 'Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves)' was released seven months prior to the Scouser's second album 'This Modern Glitch', critics and fans alike, were still tentative in raising their expectations.

Arguably their best song to date, the insanely catchy sing-along chorus and body-moving qualities of 'Tokyo', recalls the superlative dance-rock of Franz Ferdinand & The Killers at their best. Meanwhile, follow-up track and single 'Jump Into the Fog' contains the bombastic attributes of fellow Brits Muse, moving from pronounced atmospheric keys to a distorted guitar solo in a heartbeat. This time around it gets a little more divisive after that, with strings-drenched third single 'Anti-D' and club-ready fourth single 'Techno Fan' certain to have as many haters as they have fans. Both of these cuts are likely to be judged on the trademark wit of their lyrics, with the former pleading "Please allow me to be your anti-depressant, I too am prescribed as freely as any decongestant”, while the latter proclaims "Shutup and move with me or get out of my face, I didn't queue for an hour to leave straight away".

As part of the maturation process of the band, the lyrical content of 'This Modern Glitch' has evolved from the fun, witty and humorous one-liners of 'A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation'. The acerbic pop culture references are still littered throughout, but the self-deprecation clearly has a darker, more serious undertone here. The one-time addiction to prescription anti-depressants of front-man Matthew Murphy is laid bare, and while it clearly assists both his rehabilitation and the band's development, it weakens the curiously likeable charm evident on their debut. As always, for every lyrical gold nugget, there is an awkward, corny rhyme to be heard. 'Last Night I Dreamt...' ends with "Apart from when I lost my virginity, I've never been known to frighten easily", while 'Walking Disasters' serves up "Consumption makes us stronger, you're the sweetest anaconda".

More concerning is the change of musical direction adopted by The Wombats second time around, with 'This Modern Glitch' being a less versatile record than its predecessor. Multiple producers polish their respective tracks up slickly, but the album is so over-reliant on synths, that it could almost be classified as electro-pop. A strong 80s vibe ("We are the 1980s" declares Murphy on 'Techno Fan') only adds to the dime-a-dozen vibe, while the relatively simple song structures mean the band cannot match the multi-layered approach of the genre's heavyweights. This all results in the non-highlights containing some nice keys and decent chorus harmonies, but ultimately not being especially distinctive or memorable. The album also closes poorly, with no amount of clever lyrics able to save the lowest denominator pop of 'Girls/Fast Cars', while the dated indie-posturing curve-ball of 'Schumacher the Champagne' is as predictable as it is out of place.

The Wombats have always been a fun and curious band, so it should come as no surprise that both of their full-length releases have been peculiar affairs. One could easily make an argument that their second LP contains their best song yet, shows greater cohesiveness and contains less awful tracks than their debut. And yet, as a whole, it seems an inferior record... One where the sum of its parts are greater than the whole. Only including ten tracks, 'This Modern Glitch' is as inconsistent as ever, and could actually be hindered by having less bullets to spray around the target. It is in no ways a poor album however, and much like The Killers' 'Hot Fuss', is able to get by purely on its strong standouts. Unfortunately, it does nothing to change the perception that The Wombats are very much a singles band... And it is true that they will release one hell of a 'Best of' compilation one day.

Recommended Tracks: Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves), Jump Into the Fog & 1996.



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user ratings (110)
Chart.
3.2
good
other reviews of this album
Fugue (2)
This Modern Glitch illustrates a band making no strident steps towards showing they can write enough...



Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Emeritus
April 30th 2011


22485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

If I had not have reviewed this album and had to pick it apart, I may have opted for a 3.5.

Tyrael
April 30th 2011


21113 Comments


These guys keep dissapointing huh... Great review as always Davey (I've never seen you release anything less than great reviews tbh).

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
April 30th 2011


22485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I guess this is a disappointment, but I didn't want this review to come across as overly negative. They're the kind of band that if you go in listening without high (& critical) expectations, you will enjoy their records.



And thanks Thomas. I appreciate the kind words mate.

Captain North
April 30th 2011


6793 Comments


I've only heard Tokyo, and goddamn that's a good tune. Don't think I'll bother with the rest though, you just saved me download thanks Davey.

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
April 30th 2011


22485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

'Tokyo' rules. I'm even thinking I under-rated it in my top songs list last year at just outside the top 10 (it was on #8 on JJJ's Top 100).



Maybe give 'Jump Into the Fog' a spin Tom. But you can probably stop there if your time is precious.

AliW1993
April 30th 2011


7511 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Nice review as always. I need to hear this, though I'm not really expecting much.

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
April 30th 2011


22485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks Ali. I actually thought that you, Adam Knott or the missing Ross Tomlin may have beaten me to the punch with this review.



Expect more of the same re: this album. Your sound-off for their debut could almost be repeated here.

Fugue
April 30th 2011


7371 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I will, at some point, review this too Davey. Just not with an essay hand-in impeding my progress.

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
April 30th 2011


22485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thought you may have been tied up Rosco... Not literally of course, but maybe literary.



You heard the album yet?

Tyrael
April 30th 2011


21113 Comments


Yeahhh, on first listen this isn't very good...
At least I can still jam hard to 'Let's dance to Joy Division' though.

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
April 30th 2011


22485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, "Lets Dance..." almost rules as much as 'Tokyo'.

Fugue
April 30th 2011


7371 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I haven't actally, will have to track down a copy over the next few days if I want a review up while this release is still relevant.

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
April 30th 2011


22485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Music is always relevant.

Fugue
April 30th 2011


7371 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

True, though unfortunately a release like this only has a limited shelf life with the majority of this sites userbase. Need to see if I can get the new Pigeon Detectives while I'm at it.

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
April 30th 2011


22485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Was wondering when they were gonna release their new album... Not that I've properly listened to their first 2.

HBFS
April 30th 2011


1348 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This album really dies after Techno Fan - the first half is really awesome apart from Anti-D.

I saw them at GTM tonight, and they sounded superb. The sound was perfect, only letdown was when they played some of the worst songs from this album (Anti-D and 1996)



I need to get onto that Pigeon Detectives album, also.

Knott-
Emeritus
April 30th 2011


10211 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

bad album

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
April 30th 2011


22485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"This album really dies after Techno Fan"

Initially, I felt exactly the same HBFS. But '1996' was the real grower for me. It went from about the 6th best song on 1st listen to my 3rd fave.



"first half is really awesome apart from Anti-D"

I don't like 'Anti-D' either. Right from the strings that open it (& I'm usually a sucker for strings... Even if they're synth strings.



Glad to hear they were good live. Man, I thought GtM was still 3-4 weeks away.



Adam, I didn't hate it as much as you. But that may be because I really like the 1st 2 singles.

RavenRock
April 30th 2011


688 Comments


Eh. Never really did care for this album at all.

DaveyBoy
Emeritus
April 30th 2011


22485 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

You say that like it's been out for years. It came out last week.



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