REVIEW: ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ by The Wombats

The Wombats have certainly made some changes since their last album in 2015. Whilst the edgy album titles remain (this one being Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life), the rock trio from Liverpool certainly succeeded in making an album which doesn’t “[punch] you in the face every time you listen to it” – pursuing a much more laid-back sound this time around.

Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life sees The Wombat pursue a more laid-back sound, whilst maintaining the traditional and powerful kick from previous works. Photo: The Wombats.

Although, that is not to say that the band have completely ditched the rockier vibes heard on previous tracks like Moving to New York and Let’s Dance to Joy Division. They’re still present on the album – albeit in a slightly new and different (but interesting) way…

Take the opener, Cheetah Tongue, which slowly eases listeners into Beautiful People… with a gritty underlying guitar riff before dropping a loud, punchy drum beat. It’s stripped-back, yet still has that Wombats kick to it we’ve felt before.

That doesn’t stop with the following song, Lemon To A Knife Fight. As the lead single from the album, the group knew it had to offer a glimpse into what the ten-track record had in store. With anthemic vocals in the chorus on top of casual instrumentals, it perfectly balances the driving rock of the old with the chilled vibes of the new. It’s certainly the stand-out track from the album, so if you have to listen to one song from Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life, make it this one.

Then follows the third and final single from the album, Turn – a track with retreating guitar and drums that make it a song focussing more on Matthew Murphy’s vocals than an all-round dance hit. It strikes that perfect balance between full-on rock and a slower, phones-in-the-air type track – an interesting in-between.

Yet, it’s not just the singles where we see such a balance between slower and faster vibes. Over the course of the next seven tracks, we either see the punch come from pulsing drums and guitar (Black FlamingoDip You in Honey and Lethal Combination), or from Murph’s loud lyrics (Out of My Head). Such a switch between the two keeps each track fresh as we progress towards the end of the album.

With that being said, the change-up in style is apparent when one considers the tempo of the tracks. Far from the pace of A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation, their latest release, Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life plays with a more relaxed rhythm – some tracks hiding the change with colourful beats and melodies, others placing emphasis on it to create a calmer feel.

This leads us to the final track, I Don’t Know Why I Like You but I Do – a track which, for the most part, is in clear contrast to the first three. A simplistic drum beat (with the odd bit of flair here and there) and smooth guitar melodies slow things down for Murph, before a gritty guitar interlude refreshes the feel and makes it a perfect showcase of the two sides of the album.

A refreshing change of style is always a risky, tough and lengthy process for any band to deliver, but with Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life, The Wombats return to turn things down a notch, whilst maintaining the traditional groove fans know and love.

Rating: 4/5

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#NewMusicFriday: ‘You Could Have Been The One’ by Coasts

It was only three months ago that Coasts were on the road celebrating the release of their second album, This Life Vol. 1. Now, in the middle of a European tour with rock band The Hunna, the five-piece band have offered up a brand new anthemic track in the form of the anthemic You Could Have Been the One.

Take Me Back Home, albeit with a fresh kick to it. It’s the band we know and love, yet with some interesting new vibes thrown in.

As well as this, when one considers the fact that Coasts announced the single on Facebook yesterday with the hashtag, #vol2, it’s likely that the next album from the band continues the euphoric sound of their previous record. With You Could Have Been The One having a bubbly synth tune at its core, what’s not to say that Volume Two expands upon the electronic melodies teased in Paradise and Make It Out Alive?

Ignoring the bizarre fading out of the song 30 minutes before the end of the track, You Could Have Been The One is a welcome return from the group, hinting at bigger things from the band in the months to come…

Musical Discovery: ‘Wonderful Wonderful’ by The Killers

It was only a matter of time before the relaxed rock side of The Killers’ upcoming fifth album came to light. The title track, Wonderful Wonderful, was released last Friday and sees them move away from the fast pace of their previous single, Run For Cover. From funk, to driving rock and now something a little bit slower, the American band are still finding new ways to experiment with their style after more than 15 years in the game.

Bassist Mark Stoermer’s contribution to the track is clear from the outset. Much like the other two singles, a tense build-up occurs – this time complete with whining and scratching guitar, a rough rhythm and a tight bass riff. Throughout, the latter two instruments maintain the pace in a way which somewhat detracts from Flowers’ vocals, which, although distinctive, feel a tad mumbly and bland this time around. As a track, Wonderful Wonderful is on the same wavelength as Read My Mind – albeit when it becomes a bit more anthemic towards the end of the song.

Coincidentally, it’s the final verse which begins with the lyrics wonderful, wonderful where the song really packs a punch. With emphasised guitar chords and crash cymbals aplenty, it has the traditional grandiose flair to be expected of a Killers track. Yet, 3 minutes and 36 seconds in to a five-minute-long song, one has to ask if this is too little too late. On this occasion, its the instrumental aspects of the track which save it, even if the pace or tone of the vocals aren’t really your preferred rock style.

Wonderful, Wonderful is set to be released on September 22, 2o17.

Musical Discovery: ‘Run for Cover’ by The Killers

It’s hardly an unusual occurrence in the music industry: a band, returning from a lengthy break with a desire to try out a new sound, release something different before backing it up with a single that sounds familiar. Yet, this is The Killers we’re talking about – the group behind Mr Brightside who are still full of versatility after more than 10 years on the music scene.

Run for Cover is the latest single from the hitmakers’ upcoming album, Wonderful Wonderful, and follows on from The Man – a track full of falsetto and machismo. This time, however, Flowers delivers gritty and harsh lyrics about toxicology, dirtbags and a difficult relationship with a brand of rock that’s reminiscent of a previous hit (Spaceman) and the Kaiser Chiefs. It’s no surprise either, after the lead singer revealed that “Run for Cover was written about nine years ago for Day & Age but it wasn’t completely written”.

Opening up the track with driving drum beats and intense guitar riffs, a sense of nostalgia is created for fans – and that’s even before Flowers begins the first verse with Ricky Wilson-esque vocals. Then comes the chorus, which sounds both familiar and distinctive at the same time, with the usual blend of anthemic lyrics, stand-out guitar melodies and pounding drums. Whilst The Man offers a more laid-back groove to sway to, there’s no denying that Run for Cover will have fans rocking out when the band go on tour later this year and in 2018.

Musical Discovery: ‘The Man’ by The Killers

Bass-heavy alternative is sweeping the genre at the moment, whether it’s full-on funk or something a little bit more inventive, everyone seems to be jumping on the musical bandwagon. Now, with a song that sounds like the lovechild of Jamiroquai and Two Door Cinema Club, Mr Brightside singers The Killers return from a five-year absence with The Man.

Although far from an anthemic rock single, the fluid drum beats and groovy guitars apparent in Battle Born and Hot Fuss still linger underneath Brandon Flower’s falsetto vocals. The Man (taken from the band’s upcoming album, Wonderful Wonderful) debuted as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record on BBC Radio 1, and certainly hints at a record which strikes a balance between funky alternative and hard-hitting rock.

However similar it may sound compared to other alternative bands in the industry at the moment, we can all be thankful that The Killers are back after a lengthy absence.

The Man is available to stream on Spotify and iTunes now.

Musical Discovery: ‘Hard Times’ by Paramore

There’s certainly been some ‘hard times’ for Hayley Williams and the rock band Paramore over the years, what with the departure of some of its members in the past. Now, as the current trio return with a new pop hit, it’s an upbeat musical style which contrasts all this, and sees the band move away from their grittier sound.

Instead, this is their offering in a pop scene dominated with plucky guitars and tropical vibes, even when it feels a little flat. A marimba opening and heavy riffs certainly keep the listener interested, but there’s nothing particularly fruitful in the verses to maintain our attention (the repetitive melody here is more annoying than catchy). It’s the funky groovy chorus which we have to thank for injecting some originality into this track, with lyrics that actually are memorable.

It’s the first single from the upcoming album, After Laughter, and whilst a daring change of direction for a band is to be respected, hopefully the record will see some more rocky tracks as well.

Musical Discovery: ‘Some Other Dude’ by Everywhere

It didn’t surprise me when I noticed that the alternative rock band Everywhere have worked with the American producer Mark Needham – who has worked with big groups such as The 1975, The Killers and Imagine Dragons. Now, as Everywhere release their new single, Some Other Dude, there’s wonderful similarities between them and Matt Healy’s band.

At the heart of the song is a pulsing bass guitar riff and a memorable chant-like chorus. Both of these elements combine to form a vibrant funk-pop anthem which really stands out in a heavily dominated alternative/pop scene.

There’s always something exciting about witnessing an up-and-coming band hitting the mainstream music scene. Already, Everywhere have supported The Kaiser Chiefs and appeared at the NME Awards in 2013. As with every Musical Discovery, finding a track you love is amazing, but finding a new band to listen to is even better.

Three years ago, they released their debut EP, American Grandeur, so you can expect some songs from that release making an appearance on the blog very soon. Alongside Some Other DudeShades at Night is another track I’ve been listening to lately, and would definitely recommend.

If you like this track, then you may be interested to know that you can download Some Other Dude for free by signing up to a newsletter here.

What do you think of Some Other Dude? Are you a fan of Everywhere? Comment below!

Liam