It’s a truth universally acknowledged that all British people, at one point or another, went through an “indie” phase. You know the one: you kept telling your pals about weird bands they “probably wouldn’t have heard of”, seriously considered buying one of those red army jackets The Libertines always wore, and you most definitely knew every word to every song on A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation.
The 2007 debut record from Liverpool-based band The Wombats, the LP was undeniably the soundtrack to every indie disco at that time and it still bangs when any track is dropped on a night out to this day. Don’t even try to pretend you haven’t screamed the lyrics to “Let’s Dance To Joy Division” or “Kill The Director” into your mate’s face, because you’d definitely be lying.
Forming 15 years ago, the group – made up of lead singer Matt Murphy, drummer Dan Haggis and guitarist Todd Knudsen – released their fourth album Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life in February of this year. “It’s about how all those that are close to you are essentially the ones that can damage you the most, and it’s to do with how obsessed I get with people, places and things.” Murphy explains, adding that his vision – even after more than a decade – still hasn’t changed. “I’m pretty much writing about the same thing, just framing it in a different way”.
“I was always banging on about not using as many synthesisers on this album
as we did on the last couple,” he continues of the new record’s sound. “I definitely wanted something a bit more organic, natural and with a bit more swagger”.
But how have The Wombats been able to keep their sound contemporary up against the demise of guitar music? Murphy puts it down to resilience. “We’ve always kept our heads down, and even when things haven’t gone particularly well we just get on with it and move onto the next thing.”
The new album isn’t all that the band are filling their 2018 up with, having announced various festival appearances around the globe, plus a U.S tour supporting Weezer and Pixies. This is certain to guarantee the Northern natives will reach audiences way past their loyal indie following. “It’s just about smashing these few tours.” Murphy emphasises. “We are definitely a live performance band. In the studio we can go a bit nuts and feel a bit beside ourselves and over-think things.”
Sticking with the vision seems to have been the ethos behind The Wombats who have become experts at making waves within their very own music scene, showing us all that holding onto unique spirit and alternative style seems to be the key to long term success. “I think lyrically, the songs are always a bit weird and interesting and I think that’s served us well over the last 11 years.” Murphy says. Well, here’s to the next 11.
Taken from Rollacoaster Magazine Spring/Summer 2018 Issue; out now and available to buy here.