It is not unusual for me to get hugely hyped up about a particular song. Unfortunate members of my household will attest to the fact that I will go around rapping, singing or try-hard beatboxing bits of songs for days on end until a) I have worked up my play count to the point where the novelty factor has well and truly faded or b) I find another newer new track to start humming or c) someone in the family punches me in the face. The Wombats – at least their last two major singles – do not fit within this rigid taxonomy. Favourites at the 2010 Parklife festival, their first single off forthcoming sophomore effort ‘This Modern Glitch’ (April, 2K11) had me very passionate indeed. I would tell almost any person who cared to listen that ‘Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)’ was THE song of 2010 and deserved to be at the top of any end-of-year list and anybody who didn’t shout out with joy when they heard the refrain ‘dancing with the BEAST!’ was a total fuckhead and didn’t know what good music was.
That was then. This is now. And I feel like, unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), I’m developing the same sort of blindly fervent adoration for this new Wombats song. At least an exponential increase in air-drumming would suggest as much. To get two from two surely augurs well for the new album. While not necessarily as immediately catchy and jumpy as ‘Vampires and Wolves’, ‘Jump Into The Fog’ presents a songwriting maturity that belies the Liverpudlians’ relative inexperience in the biz. Only around in current Wombat form since late 2006, ‘Jump Into The Fog’ displays the same sort of lyrical ingenuity that made those other British animals, The Arctic Monkeys’ debut ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ such a stellar album. That The Wombats’ Matthew Murphy has tapped into some of the wordsmith wizardry of Alex Turner on ‘Fog’ makes it such an enjoyable listen. Dripping with tales of debauchery and the everyday prostitutions of modernity and wrapped up in profound introspection, this is a song that really bursts with talent.
Worried initially that the band was taking a turn into Keane ‘‘ territory – a moment in time where that once endlessly impressive band took a melodramatic turn for the worst – the wavering keys at the outset only set the stage for what, in true Wombatian (new word) style, blossoms into a massively engaging track. At 3’50″ this is not necessarily a short song but The Wombats are able to cram so much dynamism, so much light and shade, epic guitar solos and anthemic choruses, that it leaves far more of an impression than those few minutes would suggest. Production is tight and lush; layered melodies, big drums and excellent articulation on the part of Murphy make for an all-round exciting listen. So yes, if the superlatives didn’t give you the hint by now, I am continually thrilled by what I’m hearing emanating from The Wombats’ habitat. Where gimmicks and genre crossovers have come to dominate rock, these three lads are taking it back to basics. And doing a damn fine job of it too.
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