There is something distinctly nineties about WOMPS debut LP. Whether it stems from some of Ewan Grant and Owen Wicksted’s own influences seeping into their collaborative work or having the masterful Steve Albini shaping their sound from behind the scenes, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that gives it that feel. The Glasgow based two-some, formed from the ashes of Algernon Doll, have already picked up a loyal following – and it’s understandable given their incredible knack for delivering rough around the edges garage rock with a classic pop sentimentality without ever seeming out of their comfort zone.
Throughout the album there is a slightly unpolished finish to it and there are no exceptions with the first track “Plasticine”. The opener comes under the guise of a well-crafted indie number that splices together Wicksted’s crashing drums and Grant’s melodic, wavering voice that at times shows shades of early Cribs work, especially around the chorus.
Its tracks like “Live A Little Less” – the band’s first single – that show off WOMPS‘ scrappy enthusiasm and the strong lyrical ability that got them this far. With far more of a grunge element to it than “Plasticine” and the previous track “Manners”, it’s easy to see how it brought them to people’s attention. It’s as sharp as it is bold with punchy disjointed guitar and the frenetically played drums that channel everything from Teenage Fanclub to Local H.
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“Ritalin”, is a straight up punk number that sees the band’s more angsty mentality come out as they screech and roar their way through one of the best tracks on the album. It’s unrefined and raw but has a great boorish charm and energy that makes it hard to ignore.
Perhaps the stand out on an album that has no bad recordings, “How Are You?”, is one of a few of the band’s ‘despondent about love’ tracks and is, at its core, a great alternative pop track. But it’s the vulnerability in Grant’s voice as he delivers its first line, “There is no such thing as love”, that pushes it that one step further into great all round track territory.
The closer from WOMPS showcases their ability to change gears and switch between genres as they dip into the synth sound of The Cure with an 80s inspired new wave conclusion. Inherently different from how “Our Fertile Forever” opened, we hear a vastly changed sound to anything on the album. “Gift From God” is that slicker, glossed sound that proves that they are not just a one trick pony.
It’s not uncommon for bands to hit it out of the park on their first attempt but it’s certainly rare to manage it with an album that features no weak tracks. Not since Titus Andronicus’ 2010 release of “The Monitor” has the garage scene been treated to a record as rich and full as “Our Fertile Forever”.
This WOMPS article was written by Adam Stevenson, a GIGsoup contributor