It might only be November, but with all those massive accumulated articles of “the year in review” being prepared just around the corner I’ve been thinking about some of my favorite musical memories from this year so far and seeing The Wombats live at Lollapalooza in Chicago this past summer is pretty high up there on the list. A sunny, hot early afternoon in the city I love not only with one of my very best friends but also with my big brother – the entire crowd tuned in and shouting along to the lyrics from A Guide to Love, Loss, and Desperation, This Modern Glitch, and Glitterbug. So since Glitterbug is on my short list for top ten albums of 2015, I figured it deserved a #tbt review for this week.
The album is an entity as a whole. It is not a collection of singles that with the last few tracks just there to flesh out the album length, every song has merit and is worth the listen. The album, like much of their music, works through the throes of love, affection, and rejection – expressing in lyrical witticisms the words you didn’t realize you needed to say. But with a large 80’s synth pop influence than they ever had before. Glitterbug opens up with a strong bass drum and sizzling guitars in “Emoticons” that grip the listener into swaying while they stand up to a girl that is breaking their heart singing “you need to find a different boy’s heart to crew”.
The album layers on synth and poppy hooks in an organized cacophony of enthusiasm. It is so much more excitable than This Modern Glitch who’s songs were easily transformed into acoustic versions for This Acoustic Glitch. The almost manic induced tempo speed that the album pushes forward on Glitterbug makes audible the sound of those in their 20’s putting on a sincere facade, with Murphy singing “we crave the fiction when we need the truth” in “Emoticons”.
“Isabel” is a sweet ballad that builds and ebbs with drifting echos of the Matthew Murphy’s front vocals. The dense harmonies at the end chorus are reminiscent of Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago. This track has a great use of breath and silence, giving room for melodies to disperse leaving Murphy’s voice exposed and sincere. Although it fits and has it’s place, the track is starkly different than much of their prior stuff and shows the growth and direction that these Liverpudlian lads are capable of going in. Immediately the calm breaks away and the album switches modes with the energetic lead single “Your Body is a Weapon”
Now there are a lot of people who disagree with me on this album. Pitchfork only gave it a 5.7/10, NME Reviews gave it a 6/10 and The Guardian gave it a 3/5. What do they know though? It’s not like it’s their job or anything to review music and critically listen to it! But on a whole Glitterbug is full of wit and charming lyrics that entice you to sing along. It is the epitome of everything I want from an British indie rock band.
The track list is as follows:
- Give Me A Try
- Greek Tragedy
- Be Your Shadow
- This is Not a Party
- Your Body is a Weapon
- The English Summer
- Pink Lemonade
Listen to “Greek Tragedy” below: