The Wombats are back! Ok, we won’t have a full album for a few months – titled Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life, it’s not due until February. But it’s been a quiet two years since the Wombats released Glitterbug, so “Lemon to a Knife Fight” is still a big release from the Brit rockers. So how does it compare to their other work?
Overall, “Lemon to a Knife Fight” is a promising lead-off single. There’s a bit of deception, as the track begins with relatively bare, with an electric guitar strumming. But then, it hits you with a wave of bass and percussion. The strumming pattern is a constant through the song, and nicely complements the club-infused low-end that drives the song. As always, the Wombats retain their signature cheeky lyricism. Lines like “intoxicated / higher than the ISS” are peak Wombats: a little silly, a little clever, and impressively earnest. Even the title itself, “Lemon to a Knife Fight,” is delightfully absurdist.
Let me put it this way: “Lemon to a Knife Fight” is ideal music to dance to or have in the background of your next party. It doesn’t reach the heights of cynicism or genuine emotion that is typical of their best work—“Let’s Dance to Joy Divison,” “Techno Fan,” or especially “Greek Tragedy”—but it shows a technical expertise honed over the past three albums. The Wombats have never lacked for musicianship, nor fresh lyrics. But at their best they can produce so much more: an almost transcendent honesty and simplicity. “Lemon to a Knife Fight” is not quite that. But it’s fun, easy to listen to, and—most importantly—opens to the door for a great album to come.
Listen to Lemon to a Knife Fight on Spotify below