by Pat Fox
I think we need to come up with either a blanket term or new genre to describe modern bands. We’re hyphenating them too much. But until that day comes here is Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life, the new album from the New-Wave-Indi-Pop-Post-Punk band The Wombats. It’s been a busy three years for the Liverpool group since their last album, Glitterbug; their time taken up with a heady mixture of tours and anniversaries.
Their fourth studio album kicks off with the release track, ‘Cheetah Tongue’. The track starts with a fast paced Allegro tempo with an opening electric base and drum rift, before the guitar, drums and electric effects kick into the harmony, creating an electro pop-rock arrangement. But this doesn’t set up the overall tone of the album. Second track ‘Lemon to a Knife Fight’ has a slower, somewhere between Moderato and Allegretto, tempo and starts with acoustic guitar and electric drum beat; while still retaining the bounce rhythm of the previous track it is different enough to stand out.
The album has a fun bouncy tempo and rhythm style that the band experiments with. On the track ‘White Eyes’ they build it up before dropping it down again only to raise it back up so they can hit you harder with the high tempo. It has a fun, bouncy Electro Pop-rock arrangement that doesn’t dull and blur the album into one long single. It keeps it feeling fresh and new.
Musically the album is brilliant; creative, well-paced, and with strong harmonies, Beautiful People… provides some excellent arrangements.
Only issue is this: The lyrics are mental.
Somewhere between Beck’s and Alanis Morissette’s work, they sit between freestyle and throwing Scrabble tiles on the floor so fate and chaos can dictate them. ‘Cheetah Tongue’ treats us to lines such as “My orange cola got black flamingoes crying for ya” while ‘Out of my head’ has “Dancing in a coma/Eating sushi all alone/I disappear” like a mad man’s haiku. I don’t mind random experimental lyrics, some of the best songs out there have them. It just doesn’t seem to work here.
Poppy/electro music mixed with stream of conscious lyrics doesn’t work too well with songs dealing with nights out, drinking, and love. They’re not bad lyrics; juxtaposition can work in music to bring out a better response for the listener, it’s just not doing this album any favours. This could have been a fantastic instrumental album if they had have kept the lyrics away.
In the end, Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life is an album full of creative musical arrangements and harmonies, but falls down when it comes to hitting you with any lyrical substance.
Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life is out now.