After eighteen years together, The Wombats needed to build upon their expansive discography without simply rehashing their own greatest hits; on Fix Yourself, Not The World that’s exactly what they’ve done, the confidence from their viral success informing a more experimental soundscape.
Fix Yourself, Not The World still has the underpinnings of indie pop, but leans into rockier textures on ‘Ready For The High’ and ‘Work Is Easy, Life Is Hard’. The guitar riff on ‘People Don’t Change People, Time Does’ even gives a nod to country, while the introductory ‘You Flip Me Upside Down’ has the potential for a great club remix. Despite flirting with so many genres the album still manages to keep its cohesion, though – proof of the band’s skill as veteran songwriters.
The pop production on their opening track continues into ‘This Car Drives All By Itself’ – a lyrically nonchalant number reminiscent of a Declan McKenna confessional. “I thought that [the song] was a great way of saying, we row but the universe steers,” their singer, Murph, has explained. “We’re not in control as much as we think and I want to learn to be okay with that.” It’s a motif throughout the record, reappearing on the low-fi, slow-burning ‘METHOD TO THE MADNESS’ and on ‘Everything I Love Is Going To Die’ – a characteristic bop about living life to the full and making Icarus proud.
Among all their experiments, The Wombats have delivered some traditional staples: ‘If You Ever Leave, I’m Coming With You’ was one of the first singles to be released, and is pretty much tailor-made for their next festival setlist; ‘Don’t Poke The Bear At The Zoo’ is another, marrying classic indie-rock with their unmistakable lyricism for a song that wouldn’t be out of place on their 2018 album, Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life. It’s followed up by ‘Worry’, sonically upbeat but lyrically much more vulnerable. Touching on mental health is something that The Wombats do a lot – juxtaposing their more outlandish stories with the shamelessly personal. “It’s supposed to be inside the head of someone who’s losing it a bit,” Murph has explained, as the song grapples with feelings of paranoia.
The album rounds off with ‘Fix Yourself, Then The World’ – a short but cathartic outro that sees Murph insisting: “I don’t want to lose myself in someone else’s game.” It’s a fitting conclusion to the record that forgoes textbook repetition in order to branch out and – importantly – have a good time while doing it.
Fix Yourself, Not The World is out today via AWAL, and is available to download and stream now. The Wombats will head on a UK tour this April, including a headline night at London’s O2. Full dates and tickets are available here.