Is WOMPS simply a rebranding of what was previously Algernon Doll, or is it more of a fuzzy phoenix risen from the ashes of its slightly fuzzier predecessor, and does the answer to that question even matter? What definitely matters however is that WOMPS is an alt-rock (simply put) duo from Glasgow, and that Ewan Grant and Owen Wicksted’s debut album under this moniker is Our Fertile Forever, and it’s pretty damn great.
Whilst Algernon Doll’s trio of records - 2012’s Camomile, 2013’s Citalo-pop and 2014’s Omphalic - were drenched in fuzz and emotion, WOMPS’ Our Fertile Forever replaces a portion of that fuzz with pop sensibilities without compromising on the introspective and somewhat nihilistic core of the music. Upon listening to the finished product, which comes on the heels of the garnering of a considerable American fan base, the Glaswegians have delivered an exciting slice of angst-pop.
Despite its negative outlook, the record is fast-paced, with ‘Plasticine’ and ‘Manners’ getting things off to a straightforward and jaunty start with Grant’s downtrodden vocals providing an interesting counterpart to the angular instrumentation. The composition of ‘Live A Little Less’ is a little more discordant as the lyrical content is equally pessimistic as the title suggests. Wallowing turns into shouting on ‘Ritalin’ with the niggling guitar on ‘Cancer Of The Bone’ providing a contrasting streak of indie optimism into the musical melting pot.
’Dreams On Demand’ is tumultuous whereas as ‘Cavity’ is more clear-cut, and ‘How Are You?’ is sincere whilst ‘Another Cell’ embraces the misanthropy which laces the whole record with particular passion. Closer ‘Gift From God’ shouts “pop song” the loudest as it progresses at a jovial pace with an infectious rhythm and melody throughout. This pick ‘n’ mix of atmospheres throughout the album helps to create an unsettling emotional atmosphere overall, which is representative of the band’s mindset and powerful in its own disjointed manner.
Our Fertile Forever sound like the record that The Xcerts would make if they didn’t care so much about pop music, and WOMPS are certainly on par with those talented fellow countrymen. This album is an interesting departure from the empire that Algernon Doll built, but refined the line-up and song compositions has allowed WOMPS to get straight to the point with their collection of angsty pop songs which combine to create a thought-provoking whole.