They come from Liverpool. They attended the Liverpool Institute, where Paul McCartney and George Harrison went to high school. Only now that school is called the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, due in large part to McCartney’s cash and vision. And when the nascent Wombats — Matt Murphy, Dan Haggis and Tord Overland-Knudson — performed for McCartney at the end of their LIPA career he took immediate and overwhelming notice.
This perhaps because the co-chief Beatle instantly recognized how much the bands have in common: The instantly memorable melodies; top-notch harmony singing; the juxtaposition of upbeat songs with lyrics that are as silly as they are smart; as personal as they are universal; as piercingly insightful as they are funny.
“I don’t do much producing now, but I’d be tempted (to work with the Wombats),” McCartney said.
Over the next five days I’m going to try to convince you, my average reader, in all your smart, indie-leaning, old school-rock-loving, perpetual puzzlement for all things dance-y, clubby and youth-y to realize that there’s at least one new train headed exactly where you want to go. It’s called the Wombats. Let’s climb onboard
We’ll start with “Anti-D,” from the Wombats’ latest (2011) album, “The Wombats Proudly Present…the Modern Glitch.” Here, main songwriter/singer Murphy (who goes by Murph), twists a plea for love into a precisely etched portrait of the downside of a chemically-enhanced consciousness. The images are as direct as they are vivid: “We kick back and let the pills do the talking/People hear a distinct rattle when we’re walking…” The chorus as sweet as it is confused and confusing: “Please allow me to be your anti-depressant,” and the concluding bridge/musical digression stirring, sweet and vaguely doomed: “…so I threw away my Citalopram/I need it more than what was in those 40 milligrams/So cast away with the doctor’s plans and please allow me…”
Sweet, sad and just brilliantly performed, “Anti-D” is one of the best new songs I’ve heard this year. I’m particularly fond of this acoustic performance:
Also, here’s the original album take, as set to the official video for the song: