WOMPS Return With Spirit of Their Own?
By Steffen Armstrong
One of Third Outing's favourite Glasgow Trio's WOMPS return to the scene with a record which promises to be one of the stand out British Alternative releases of the summer. Out on June 10 via Displaced Records, Our Fertile Forever marks a change in direction and a maturing of sound for these once heavy fuzzters. But have WOMPS now simply borrowed the blueprint from other Scottish bands of their generation, or have they bettered it?
With this comment we mean one thing...Glasgow has been churning out some mega groups from the early 10's Alternative revolution. Most notably, and probably most successful, are PAWS. The great band with an unbelievable penchant for melodic wizardry and the heavy riff, starting with two very Scottish records, Cokefloat! and Youth Culture Forever, PAWS' sound epitomises this generation of Scottish Alternative bands who mix music born from Seattle Grunge with stories and struggles of Scotland. The charm of it lies with the Scottishness. But the groups upcoming new release No Grace, no doubt under the influence of producer and Blink 182's Mark Hoppus, hast lost this endearing Scottish sentiment, and allowed the Americanism to taken over. So when we heard that WOMPS had been in America before the release of their upcoming LP Our Fertile Forever, naturally we worried.
"We’re very much our own thing...I'm not sure where we’re borrowing influences from. It's very true that we love the American Spirit but we’re also very proud to be Scottish and proud of where we came from"
Listening to WOMPS, naturally you make comparisons to bands such as PAWS. Just listen to the opening parts of Dreams On Demand from the new record, and you could be forgiven for thinking it was Alone from Youth Culture Forever. That happens though, with bands from the same time and place. And unlike PAWS, WOMPS have only seemed to grow more into their Scottish roots. Last year we interviewed an earlier WOMPS very much under the influence of the fuzz grunge of America. But the new WOMPS seem to have taken this American influence, then borrowed somewhat from the Scottish blueprint, and created their own sounds; one which has matured into Alternative Post Punk of the highest standard, not forgetting their roots, but also not depending upon them entirely.
"Our Fertile Forever is a pondering on the meaning of ‘forever’ with a ‘glass half-full’ perspective. Though there’s a lot of melancholy and miserablist agenda to my words I feel like art and creating music is the only meaning that distracts me from the fear of eternity...we've ended up with a piece of art that is a true reflection of us and our growth..."
And so to the record itself, which needs little introduction; it's loud, it's melodic, it's a very Scottish Grunge. The WOMPS "miserabalist" agenda is written all over the parts of the record already available before the release date, and we doubt the rest of the LP will be any different. The stand out track for us is the aforementioned Dream On Dreamland. It's pretty much the complete song, starting so soft and melodic before coming to a bouncing crash which never lets up. And though Plasticine sneaks back over to the American side of things with the Nirvana-esque bass intro, the verse rings out with a strong Scottish charm, really portraying the new sound and direction WOMPS have adopted and developed for the better. Finally, there's Live A Little Less, what we'd call the definitive sound of the new WOMPS. It's clever, catchy, and curiously pessimistic...if that isn't the Scottish psyche we don't know what is.