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Finally. With much anticipation and feeling very nervous about what I was going to hear, the second album from The Wombats was before me. I had already heard “Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)” and knew that the much-loved harmonies that were prevalent throughout the first album were on the way out, which was to be expected.

The album kicks off with “Our Perfect Disease” which makes it very clear that these boys have moved on since 2007. It’s a dark way to kick off an album and reintroduced a few of the tools that were really effectively use on Guide. Lyrically, you can feel the anguish in this song with “I need you” being a resonating through the song.

“Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)”, which I first heard somewhere around July last year, should require no introduction to ‘Bats fans. Following from OPD, it feels as though you are waking up the next day after something tragic. When I first heard this track I wasn’t a huge fan, but now it has a real familiarity to it which does assist in getting acquainted with this album. It is quite heavy on synth however it does this in a professional manner and the song possesses good balance.

The darker side returns with “Jump into the Fog” and the song possesses a very gloomy feel, with the keys that are being used and as the song progresses the vocal contrasts well off it, while maintaining that angsty feel that ruled “Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation”. This is a real deep song from a band who were all about pop and the fears of teenagers only 4 years ago. The drumming on this song is much more involved than on their debut which was a lot more vocal centric. The sound used with the keyboards gives that musty feel of fog horns across a bay that provide a strong backdrop for the optimism that grows through the vocal trying to find a way out. It is obvious that this stage that this release is the yang to the debut albums yin in terms of mood.

The violins that open “Anti-D” have a very morbid feel to them especially of the back of Fog. As I try to comment on this song I can only think one thing…..wow. This is not at all what I expected while day dreaming about this album. Someone must have been constantly chewing on prozac while writing this track to get the feel just right. By this point it is quite evident that these guys are determined to drop the pop rock tag, however, I get the feel that this may not convert into chart success, but then that’s only one of many reasons to write an album. “Last Night I Dreamt…” follows this and makes no attempt to change the tone of the album. Not my favourite song on the album, yet it warrants its place providing the ebb and flow of emotion that rolls through the album with a release of confused feelings, “I tend to cry in a room full of laughter”.

“Techno Fan” is oddly named and it is not at all what you might expect, I pictured a funny song making fun of techno fans, but it actually turns out to be an enjoyable little pop song. Not too far removed from their debut album in terms of the techniques that they have employed, although in this instance the backing vocal being implemented seems to be feminine to work with the softer feel of the synthesizers. Unfortunately, I don’t like the use of synth as much on “1996” which I really don’t understand, it sounds a little too boy-band mainstream in parts.

By the time the intro of “Walking Disasters” comes around I am starting to get over the electro sound a little. Just when you are thinking that it is over it returns through the chorus, there are elements of this song that are enjoyable and it could have done with a little more work and a stronger chorus. “Girls/Fast Cars” is full of background noises which I find are not contributing to the song which disappear as the song progresses and it feels a little Muse inspired with the sci-fi feel. “Schumacher the Champagne” ends the album in an odd tone leaving the listener a little confused as to the two sides of the album, the dark and gloomy and the last few tracks which kinda just happen and drop any mood that was built.

This album makes you want to crawl under your doona (duvet/comforter, I make no excuse for being Aussie) and find a reason to feel sorry for yourself. The album feels like a journal of what seems to have been not the standard rise to fame for a group of young lads hitting the big time. It full of anguish and emotion and the most grim album I have heard in a long time. Having said this there is a real beauty and elegance to the songs, it’s just too bad it just doesn’t carry it for the full ten tracks.

ALBUM RATING: Very different/dark output from a very versatile band, worth the wait

The Wombats are definitely headed in a new direction with the new tracks that they have put out in the build up to their new album. “Jump into the Fog” is a little darker and slower from what we are used to from the ‘Bats, my first listen asked more questions than it answered. The intensity is not the same as it was with “A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation” and the backing vocals that provided such great harmonies are non-existant. I have a feeling that this album will definitely split the fan-base.