The Wombats - Is This Christmas?
Album Review

The Wombats – Is This Christmas?

You would put a band into the same common sense category as Sarah Palin, upon hearing that they‘re planning to take the Christmas charts by a storm, with an angry dose of reality and anti-commercial propaganda pronouncing.

This is, of course, in the wake of Malcolm Middleton’s sorry attempt last Christmas to overthrow the commercial big-hitters with a dose of sincerely delivered, no frills reality (his single, ‘We’re All Going To Die’, reached number 32 in the Charts on the Sunday before last Christmas).

However, in the case of ruggedly rhythmic Mat Murphy led, The Wombats they are way ahead of us and they deliver their scything yuletide tale with a pledge to donate all proceeds to MENCAP. Therefore, unlike with Middleton’s attempt, there’s no possibility of levelling a charge of hypocrisy at Murphy and co’ for trying to profit by decrying commercialism.

Another factor that will help Da Wombies sock it to the next X-Factor schmoozer is that they have a secret weapon, by using the striking voice of happy-go-lucky comedian Les Dennis to raise spirits. Murphy’s rustic, well-pitched vocals change in impact when the backing goes from paradoxically festive to bracing and reflective.

They use catchy snippets drawn from a range of previous Chrimbo hits to contrast with Murphy’s mundanely realistic message, highlighting the falseness that falls more reliably than snow upon us at this time of year.

A sincere attempt to capture reality and bring things down to earth is captured in the following lines;

“Turn Back to the Future off I’ve seen it before, maybe every year and more…………..
And the red wine plummits down and we should all be in our beds, but it’s right wing versus left until the wings fall off our heads and;
Is this Christmas? Is this Christmas? Is this Christmas?“

This is delivered with tone changing sincerity by the lead man Murphy, who puts force and sincerity into the crushing chorus. People will be unable to resist joining in, even those believers who still believe that Kermit the Frog’s son really did save Christmas.

The Wombats are currently big outsiders to top the Christmas Charts, but with this full-bodied vocal push, chiming chugging and that Liverpudlian eccentricity that has served them so far.

You never know, Liverpool could top off its year as Capital of Culture with one of their bands having the Chrimbo Number One, you’d be a fool to write them off.

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