The Wombats have long divided fans since the release of two albums with such contrasting sounds, leaving many hoping that their latest offering, Glitterbug, would be a throw-back to the raw, indie sound of their 2007 album A Guide to Love, Loss and Depression. Whilst this newest LP doesn’t outwardly fit such a mould, it certainly incorporates some of the finest musical aspects of their last two albums in a way will please fans of both albums.
This Modern Glitch represented a more pop-oriented style of The Wombats that we hadn’t seen before, and it’s definitely true to say that they’ve stuck with a similar style for decent portion of Glitterbug. However, the use of synths and synthetic effects is outwardly more mature and measured. This maturity and polish can be seen in pop tracks like echo-heavy Be Your Shadow and the deep-synth oriented This Is Not A Party, which both have a much cleaner electronic feel.
Fear not though, if you loved The Wombats of old, as there are also clear and sentimental gestures back to their old style in the indie-rock style of tracks like the grungy The English Summer and the riff-based Sex And Question Marks. But even these contributions have a more refined feel to them.
Slow jams like Emoticons and Greek Tragedy are just so true to the sound that The Wombats made their own in 2007, creating a perfect mix of pop and indie-rock with a gorgeous balance between guitars and synthetically created sounds.
This album also tells a story not only about the band’s experiences but also of a band that has achieved an incredible level of diversity. Specifically the tracks played in order tell a story about an English boy and Californian girl, but I find the musical journey much more interesting. This story follows the development of diversity in instrumentation, in style, in tempo and in texture. There are banging radio hits like Be Your Shadow, ballads like the incredibly soulful and melodic Isabel, and raucous tunes like Pink Lemonade.
The point of all these comparisons is to show the thing that really stands out about Glitterbug, which is about how it perfectly unites two opposing styles that The Wombats have tinkered with throughout their time as a band. Unsurprising as this time, instead of using a number of producers as they did with their previous two releases, the Wombats recorded most of the tracks at the studio of Mark Crew; one of the key producers behind fellow UK rockers Bastille.