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Familiar, catchy, and uplifting: The Wombats’ ‘Fix Yourself, Not the World’ review

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The Wombats have been a staple of the British indie music scene for over a decade, and with their new album Fix Yourself, Not the World entering the charts in poll position, they are still as popular as ever. Following a string of intimate gigs, The Wombats released their 5th album on 14 January 2022, and it is best described as hitting the brief: it gives fans everything they wanted, but nothing more.

[‘This Car Drives All by Itself’] is a track that when relistening, I find myself skipping.

The first track ‘Flip Me Upside Down’ is the perfect opener to the album, encapsulating everything we’ve come to expect from the band. Starting with an infectious bass riff that plays throughout, the song is slick and has a feeling of familiar experimentation about it. The chorus feels abrupt, but combined with the stripped-back pre-chorus, it kickstarts the album on a high.

‘This Car Drives All by Itself’ follows, with a particularly nostalgic feel to it. Something about the slightly mellow tone slows the album down, and causes the repetitive nature of the song to feel a bit monotonous. This is a track that when relistening, I find myself skipping. Especially when sandwiched between the opening track and ‘If You Ever Leave, I’m Coming with You’ does hang it out to dry.

Easily the most popular single from this album, ‘If You Ever Leave, I’m Coming with You’ has an addictive immediacy to it that probably contributed to its success. The track is high-energy and features the pop culture references that The Wombats are known and loved for. It is a peak of the album that will become a staple on any tour setlist.

‘Ready for the High’, ‘Method to the Madness’ and ‘People Don’t Change People, Time Does’ follow sequentially, and can become indistinguishable when listened to in order. However, the bridge of ‘Method to the Madness’ does offer a different sound. This adds a sense of muted aggression, which created electric energy when performed live. All three of these songs will appeal to fans of the band: they follow a structure and sound that the Liverpool trio has become renowned for. However, I couldn’t help but find myself itching for something more; for something new. I feel the longevity of the Wombats’ career has stomped on their originality, and although I like the songs, I just don’t love them.

The most recent song released before the album, ‘Everything I Love Is Going to Die’, follows, and although it does contribute to this similar sound, there is a slight individuality to it. Something about the intense irony of the negative nature of the lyrics, indicated in the song’s title, matched with the upbeat joviality of the music makes this track prominent. The build-up is satisfying and leads to an incredibly catchy chorus, which I find myself humming more than any other song on the album. This one I feel is a real stand-out.

The stronger second act picks up again with ‘Don’t Poke the Bear’, (which I latched onto immediately).

‘Work is Easy, Life is Hard’ has a gritty feel to it, which acts as a welcome addition and makes this song an intriguing listen. Where the previous song contrasted dark lyrics with an upbeat melody, this one doubles down on the despair with a grungy sound paired with morose lyrics. It’s not that it feels out of place on the album, it just comes as an unexpected U-turn and contributes to what I think is a much stronger second half.

Anthemic and vast, ‘Wildfire’ feels like it was made to be played in a big open space and will work perfectly at their upcoming arena tour. There’s an element of wonder to this song, definitely making it one of the most hopeful and uplifting tracks on the album. However, with multiple listens, it does become a bit stale, and easily skippable.

The stronger second act picks up again with ‘Don’t Poke the Bear’, (which I latched onto immediately). Something about the opening’s repetitive nature sticks with you and invites you to replay it, which is exactly what I did on my first listen-through. It’s an unapologetic earworm, and that gives it a real charm.

‘Worry’ starts with a monologue from lead singer Matthew Murphy and highlights how personal the feelings that trickle through the album are to the band, adding a new perspective to what you’ve already heard. With some of the strongest lyrics on the album, ‘Worry’ discusses the trivial and shows how it can become overwhelming: “I let the smallest of things ruin my day”. With it being the last full-length song on the album, it acts as an excellent conclusion.

All in all, I would give Fix Yourself, Not the World a listen if you are already a fan of The Wombats, but I don’t think it provides anything ground-breaking for new listeners. ‘If You Ever Leave, I’m Coming with You’ and ‘Everything I Love is Going to Die’ will be welcome additions to an already jampacked setlist, but I can’t see many of the other songs surviving beyond 2022.

We recommend: ‘Worry’

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