Review: The Wombats
By Robert Jackman
Fast-rising indie sensations The Wombats played a sellout gig at Norwich's Waterfront - and they're at their best when they keep the tempo charging along, according to reviewer Robert Jackman.
"Is anyone here looking for love?" asks Matthew Murphy, mischievous front man of The Wombats. Unsurprisingly, the response is lukewarm.
The crowd mutter and shuffle, and The Wombats - a trio of recent graduates from Liverpool's Institute Of Performing Arts - are forced to abandon conversation, and roll straight into their next song.
It's not that tonight's crowd is a tough one. It's just that, when you go to a Wombats' gig, sombre emotional probes are the last thing you'd expect.
For The Wombats is a band with a reputation for one thing: no-strings-attached silliness.
They write songs for happy-go-lucky indie-disco types, always on the look out for a chance to erupt into bouts of manic dancing - songs about bike-shed gropes, countryside raves and girls who throw back drinks "like Oliver Reed on an Irish stag do".
Take latest single, Let's Dance To Joy Division, which tonight pays a strange tribute to the seventies' miseries, by turning the Waterfront into a sea of sweaty bodies, stabbing their arms into the air.
But, unfortunately, not everything in their set brings such high-octane fun, and, halfway through the night, smiles are starting to droop.
Their performance of Little Miss Pipedream is clumsy and unaffecting, consisting mainly of bassist Tord Øverland-Knudsen gurning and ooh-ing like an early evolution prototype.
And their penultimate song, a rendition of the Postman Pat theme tune sung in Norwegian, feels more like a schoolboy in-joke than a climax to their set.
Luckily for the crowd, a hyperactive sprint through fan-favourite track Backfire At The Disco means tonight's show finishes on a high.
With the band bounding across the stage in power-chord bliss, the crowd is reminded that, when they get it right, The Wombats can be a lot of fun.
It's just a shame that, once the jokes wear thin, there isn't a little more on offer.
The Wombats played The Waterfront, Norwich, on Sunday, 9 November, 2007.
last updated: 11/12/2007 at 16:39