The Wombats – Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life

The Wombats offer up sunshine-filled and catchy hooks on their fourth full-length offering

Album Review by Eala Macalister | 12 Feb 2018
  • The Wombats – Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life
Album title: Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life
Artist: The Wombats
Label: Kobalt Music Recordings
Release date: 9 Feb

The Wombats aren’t known for being the happiest band but latest offering Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life finds them in a distinctly upbeat mood, despite the title. Frontman Matthew Murphy is now settled in LA and the sunshine seems to have done him good. It’s not all been plain sailing however, with lead single Lemon to a Knife Fight being inspired by an argument with his wife on Mulholland Drive. The song features a driving rhythm section with Murphy’s vocals floating over the top – it’s a simple approach that works well for a band who have been known to chuck in the kitchen sink on previous albums.

With the band now living on separate continents, the recording and much of the writing occurred on all corners of the globe, with intense two-week in-person sessions seeing Murphy and drummer Dan Haggis travelling to bass player Tord Øverland Knudsen’s home city of Oslo. However, this urgency doesn’t translate to the album which has a laid-back feel and is more head-nodding than dancefloor-filling. It's back to basics with fewer synths and more indie rock moments such as I Only Wear Black. 

Themes of growing up and dealing with the pressures of family and adulthood feature throughout the album, and are particularly noticeable in psychedelic opener Cheetah Tongue. How well or otherwise these pressures are dealt with is up for debate. Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life is the sound of a band maturing and evolving, having come a long way from their first meeting in Liverpool. Now that they're 15 years and four albums in they know what works, and still have an ear for a catchy melody.