opinion: have the wombats passed their prime?

Written by Kenna Miller

I have been a long time listener and fan of The Wombats, and I have been seriously touched and thrilled by their music many times over the years. The Liverpool trio has a wide array of musical styles that are still entertaining today, even years after their initial rise to fame. The band has been active since 2003 and has produced four studio albums, four EPs, and eighteen singles. They have multiple hit singles like “Backfire on the Dance Floor,” “Let’s Dance to Joy Division,” and “Greek Tragedy”. Although they have had some success in the music business, the band’s hype was mostly concentrated in 2006 and in the years directly following when they won an NME Award for their song “Let’s dance to Joy Division.”  In the years following, their first album entitled A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation, peaked at #11 on the UK Billboard chart, and was later certified Platinum. The band continued to be successful with their second studio album The Modern Glitch, which peaked at #3 on the UK Billboard chart, and is certified Gold in Australia and the UK. They obviously saw a lot of success with their early albums, so, after a four year hiatus, you can imagine the excitement and anticipation that greeted the release of their third album.

This third album, Glitterbug, peaked at #5 on the UK Billboard chart, and at #91 on the US Billboard chart. Their most recent release in 2018, Beautiful People Will Ruin your Life, peaked at #3 on the UK chart, but was seen as a flop in the US. It’s highest position on the US Billboard chart was #190. With this response to their album, one can’t help but wonder what went wrong. Has the band met its prime? At least in the US, the contrast between Glitterbug and Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life is shockingly different. What caused the lack of sales and popularity in the US?

When I sat down to write this, I was ready to be brutally honest and trash The Wombats. The band has met and surpassed their prime, and I don’t think they will ever have a comeback. I don’t think they will ever be as popular as they were in their earlier days. I don’t think they have really developed their sound, their songs, or their music. They haven’t really evolved as a band or changed anything from when they first started writing and performing in 2003. Now, four albums later, in my opinion, most of their songs sound the same.

However, I’m not going to stand here and say that they’re an untalented or horrible group. They are talented, and I think everyone should give them a listen. Their music is deep and touching and their lyrics are heartfelt and poetic. There is a reason that I’ve been a long time fan of theirs, and that they have held a consistent fanbase. I love the group and I won’t ever stop loving them, regardless if every song sounds the same. However, in my opinion, I don’t think they will ever be as successful as they once were. I hope that I’m wrong in saying this, but if they continue to release such similar sounding content, I don’t know how they could gain more success or notoriety.

Matthew, Dan, Tord: if you are reading this, I love & support you, but please take this advice into consideration.

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