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The Wombats Preview

| Thursday, January 18, 2018

Diane Park | The Observer

If you weren’t quite ready to come back to school after the end of the holiday season, don’t worry — Legends of Notre Dame is hosting the perfect concert to help you beat the winter blues. British rock band The Wombats have taken a day out of their first North American tour since 2016 to come visit campus this Saturday. With their catchy melodies, timeless harmonies and quirky, honest lyrics, the show is bound to be one of the biggest events that Legends will host this semester. If you’re not already familiar with The Wombats, you’re in for a treat.

Liverpool is known to have produced a host of iconic bands in the past, and The Wombats are no exception. The upbeat three-piece has been characterized as indie rock, post-punk and new wave, and is often compared to modern indie icons like Two Door Cinema Club, Arctic Monkeys and Vampire Weekend. Still, the group’s somewhat disco beats, pop guitars and synths combined with often painfully candid lyrics have been more than enough to make them truly distinctive. 2018 will mark the band’s 15th year together after forming in 2003 as a student band of the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA). The band still has all of its original members — lead singer and guitar player Matthew “Murph” Murphy; drummer, guitarist and keyboardist Dan Haggis; and bassist Tord Øverland Knudsen.

The United Kingdom fell in love with The Wombats more than a decade ago after they released a charming debut album titled “A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation.” As Murphy sings in “Here Comes the Anxiety,” the album is filled with the “usual quirky anecdotes” that make The Wombats so endearing. This album contained the band’s most listened to song ever, “Let’s Dance to Joy Division,” which was awarded “Best Dancefloor Filler” at the 2008 New Musical Express (NME) Awards, in addition to being nominated in several other categories.

With such massive debut success, the Wombats made a name for themselves, and it’s been a name that hasn’t lost any of its sting. In 2011, they released their also well-received sophomore album, “This Modern Glitch,” which includes The Wombats now classics like “Tokyo” and “Jump Into the Fog.” Building on this continuous success, they released the electrifying and refreshingly mature record “Glitterbug” followed in 2015, and was the first of The Wombats’ albums to chart in the United States, rising to number 81 on the Billboard 200. Included in “Glitterbug” is arguably the band’s most popular track and their most viewed music video, “Greek Tragedy.”

You can expect to hear these major hits this Saturday, along with some brand new tracks off of The Wombats’ upcoming album, “Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life,” to be released on Feb. 9. With the band releasing the first three tracks off of their fourth album teasingly slowly over the past few months, “Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life” is highly anticipated and is sure to be a massive success. Picking up where they left off in “Glitterbug,” single “Lemon to a Knife Fight” has gained The Wombats a lot of attention since its release in November. December saw the release of “Turn,” an immersive, indie pop track that’s easy to get lost in as Murphy sings, “I like the way your brain works,” and, “I think I saw the world turn in your eyes.” Finally, the third number from the upcoming album, “Cheetah Tongue,” was made available on Jan. 17, and features guitars a little more heavily than the other two, along with charming metaphors that epitomize The Wombats. With the release of the rest of “Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life” being right around the corner, audiences are going to be some of the first to hear these performed live, possibly along with some other sneak-peeks.

After starting out in Liverpool, The Wombats have already gained a massive following in numerous countries. Their current U.S. tour, which began on Jan. 8 and will continue through the end of the month, will be followed by a return to the United Kingdom and several other European countries for the spring. However, if you haven’t gotten enough of The Wombats after their show this Saturday, don’t worry — the band is returning to the United States in June for thirteen more shows in an epic tour alongside The Pixies and Weezer.

As if The Wombats wouldn’t be enough great music for one night, Notre Dame’s very own The Shifties will be opening Saturday night. The student quartet was chosen from several submissions to open for The Wombats, and with sophomore Mike Donovan on vocals and guitar, sophomore Felix Rabito on guitar and backup vocals, freshman Luke Molinelli on bass and senior Alvaro Del Campo on vocals and drums, it’s sure to be a rocking performance. The Shifties played their first show together in early November and are expecting to play several additional house shows over the course of the semester. In addition, Donovan has also revealed that fans can expect an EP and performance at South Bend venues sometime in the next few months.

Editor’s note: Mike Donovan and Alvaro Del Campo are Scene writers for The Observer.

If you’re looking to catch The Wombats before they blow up in the U.S. this summer, this is your chance. Tickets are available for free at the LaFortune Box Office before 8 p.m. on Saturday. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. and The Shifties will be on stage at 10 p.m.

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About Molly Chen

Molly is a senior anthropology major from Davenport, IA.

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