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The Wombats kill the vibe on 'Fix Yourself, Not the World'

@TylerGolsen
The Wombats - 'Fix Yourself, Then the World'
3.7

Almost exactly four years after their previous LP Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life, Liverpool rockers The Wombats have returned with their fifth studio album, Fix Yourself, Not the World. The truth, however, is that they probably should have just stayed in hibernation.

There isn’t a single thing on Fix Yourself, Not the World that you haven’t heard from a better band before. The mix of electronic rock and indie-pop is far more singular on Bleachers albums, while the observational look at modern culture is better done by… just about anybody. It’s as if the band sold their collective soul to sound just like Twenty One Pilots and got ripped off in the process.

This is an album made during quarantine, after all, so get ready for references to quarantine and staying inside that could be seen from a mile away. In a wonderful bit of wishful self-fulfilment, ‘This Car Drives All By Itself’ tips you off to the fact that the entire album sounds like it was made for a Kia commercial. Not even a modern Kia commercial either, but a commercial from 2012. Put it this way: when the most interesting part of an album is the cover art, it’s a bad sign.

Tracks like ‘Ready for the High’ and ‘Work Is Easy, Life Is Hard’ sound like they’re about to get into harder-edged more aggressive territory, but they too eventually fall back into a limp groove without any real purpose. The explosive entries into every chorus come without any real excitement, with ‘You Flip Me Upside Down’ and ‘People Don’t Change, Time Does’ haphazardly stumbling into their respective hooks.

But lazy writing isn’t where the album really stumbles. It’s when the band complete mishandle the assignment, like making romantic devotion sound incredibly creepy stalker behaviour ‘If You Ever Leave, I’m Coming With You’. The line, “Stuck to the gum stuck on your shoe” aims to be clever and just comes off inane. It’s a common problem with all of the songs on the album: any reference to drugs, mutilation, or modern culture just falls consistently flat.

The worst part is that the album devolves into a bland sameness after the halfway point. I can’t recall a single thing about ‘Wildfire’ or ‘Worry’ without going back, and when I did return, it felt like a waste of energy. Once you realise that The Wombats aren’t actually all that interested in original music or standout lyrics, the remainder of Fix Yourself, Not the World just feels like a one-note indie-pop slog.

It’s a bit of an easy layup, but how could anyone pass up the opportunity: The Wombats should have fixed themselves before they brought this album to the world. Boom! Most obvious roast ever. But hey, The Wombats are clearly cool with retreads and a lack of creativity, so it feels appropriate.