— -- intro: This week British band The Wombats lean into their pop and dance-driven side on their third album, grungy rock duo Local H make a tremendous return, Eels release their second live offering, rapper Tyler the Creator drops his album early as a quick surprise while his Odd Future clique-mate Earl Sweatshirt releases the physical version of his latest album and singer-songwriter Greg Holden makes his major-label debut. If you want to know more about this week’s releases, keep reading!
quicklist: 1title: The Wombats’ “Glitterbug” (Deluxe Version) ***1/2text: On their third album, “Glitterbug,” Liverpool band The Wombats up their dance-pop quotient. While their last record at its best and brightest recalled the Brit-pop peaks of the nineties, this album is firmly aimed at the pop charts, with the “Glitter” in the album’s title accentuating this aspect.
There’s nothing on here that quite matches the extraordinary “Jump Into The Fog” from their last album “This Modern Glitch,” but it still offers a pretty stellar set of songs and it walks quite a tightrope. These tracks gleam and they are glossy, but they don’t sound over-produced. While this album seems to casually flirt with subtle hints of Autotune, for the most part vocalist Matthew Edward Murphy’s vocals sound very natural, while singing over infectious, carefully honed ear-candy.
This album also hits a nice middle-ground. This is a very polished dance record and yet the Wombats remain very much a rock band, complete with unpredictable guitar freak-outs and huge punches of adrenaline. So, many of these songs end up sounding like large stompers but they don’t have that forced quality you often hear on radio pop. “The English Summer” for instance would oddly sound appropriate in both the club and the mosh-pit. Really, this is just the latest version of “new-wave,” combining elements of punk and dance music in equal measure. It’s a balance Blur often achieved effortlessly. It’s nice to see the next generation getting this mix right.
On “Glitterbug,” The Wombats are begging radio to give them the attention they deserve. This is the record that could potentially lead to rock getting attention from “Top 40” radio again. This band offers up smartly written pop in a bright, rock package. Of course, with that balance they could potentially alienate fans on both sides of that spectrum, but it is a risk worth taking.
The deluxe edition includes two bonus tracks including the excellent “Sex and Question Marks,” a track that sounds like an odd love – child of the Cure and Blink 182.
“Be Your Shadow” This is a gleaming slice of eighties-style dance-pop as Murphy sings in a loving tone the words, “Kiss me with your fist. / It’s alright. / Wrap your hands around my throat, I won’t mind.” Equating love to violence can be truly dangerous, but wanting to be around someone can seem suffocating sometimes, so I believe I understand the metaphor.
“The English Summer” Mentioned above, this track displays a rawness I wish more of the album possessed.
“Greek Tragedy” With its slamming electro-beat and its glittering synth-line this is a hit waiting to happen.