Skip to main content

Words by Emily Hollitt

Love Fame Tragedy, the solo project of lead vocalist Matthew ‘Murph’ Murphy from The Wombats, has today released his highly anticipated second album ‘Life Is A Killer’. The record details his struggles with drugs, depression and how he coped with these while starting a new family and touring the world. Now sober, the album is a recollection of one of the most difficult years of his life. Subject matter aside, the album balances out it’s confronting themes with a killer team behind the sound, collaborating with producer Jacknife Lee (U2, The Killers) and The Wombats’ usual Mark Crew (Bastille, Rag N Bone Man). Compared to his other work, ‘Life Is A Killer’ is more experimental, contrasting recognisable 80’s dance music production staples with a modern twist, while also playing with new sonic landscapes to balance the danceability with the devastation.

“We have to stay together you know? Because everybody else is falling apart.” Opens You
Don’t You Want To Sleep With Someone Normal. Interlaced with real voice notes from Murphy’s wife Akemi, the track is an interesting insight into how he views himself. Catchy bass repeats throughout, turning what could be a super vulnerable, introspective track, into a total banger; indicative of how this internal vulnerability would hide itself in everyday life.

Following track Slipping Away follows the same idea, with lyrics “I can feel you slipping away… And I can’t tell anymore if you want me or not” repeating throughout the chorus over more funky bass and heavy, overdriven guitars. “And I can’t tell if I give a fuck.” The track is a fun mix of old disco and modern indie-pop.

It’s Ok To Be Shallow opens with crunchy electric guitars before infectious synths come in. “It’s ok to be shallow. It’s ok to be cheap. Yeah, our minds are pretty narrow, too stupid for the deep. And all of your friends are caught in their heads and mine are stuck up in the sky. It’s ok to be shallow, just don’t say no tonight.” He repeats in each chorus. “I can see the perks of living on the surface baby.” The track is a nihilistic, yet optimistic track with a hopeful overtone; an anthem for outcasts played over catchy hooks.

Following track If I Don’t opens with a voice note from his child and a toy piano. The song has an overall dreamy, nostalgic feel. “Are you getting what you want? Are you getting what you need?” With commentary on the internal struggles, fears of commitment, and the turmoil of long-term relationships, the track perfectly describes married life and growing older.

A four to the floor beat and a lo-fi beat introduce My Head’s In A Hurricane. The guitars are bright, and the synth layers are intricate, giving the track a classic, early 2000s indie-pop feel. “My head’s in a hurricane… most of the time” he repeats in each chorus over chugging guitars. “We’ll pass some drinks when we get through hell. We’ll find the way to unfuck ourselves. I’ve been there once but now I’m not so sure. Grab your kids and grab your pets. You’ll be contacted when I’ve left. I’ve left there once but now I’m not so sure.” Sings Murphy in the bridge as the instruments are stripped away. “I’m not so sure” he repeats as everything is re-introduced. “It was just a thought that I just had like, ‘Wow, what if he’s asking me for all these voice notes and turns me into the villain of this album once again?’ Wow. What a guy.” Says his wife’s voice again over gentle, finger-picked acoustic guitar in Instrumental w/ Voice Note. “By the way, these are actual questions that I need answers to.”

Fast paced drums and group vocals open title-track Life Is A Killer. “I can see the dawn mist rising. It used to be so inviting to me” he opens. “Now blow me a kiss and wave me off with a half empty coffee cup and some self-esteem.” “Now blow me a kiss and tell me what I’m lacking before you send me packing to the sea” he sings in the second verse, flipping the meaning of the track. “Life is a killer, but you’ve got to play her game” he repeats in each chorus. “Life is a killer with no alternatives.” The song is a cynical look at married life, with a dark undertone and a monotonous melody, the track expresses its’ message perfectly. “I’m yours until the end of time.” Tangerine Milkshake’s chorus is bright and preppy, with layered vocals reminiscent of 80’s pop production. “Somewhere in Soho. Blinded by the snow… More often than not, my drug of choice is whatever you’ve got.” The song deals with addiction, over an alluring beat. With it’s bright synths and medium tempo, the song sounds like the late hours of the morning, swaying back and forth, euphoric, on the dancefloor. The song fades out into a distorted mess of noise, before ending on another voice note. “Come on over, have some drinks.”

Dark synths open Ain’t No Need To Try. The 80’s-inspired sound continues with this track, with a more modern edge. “Stop doing it just because you think should. Having empathy doesn’t make you good.” Murphy experiments with his falsetto vocal, showing diversity in his performance. “I’m not expert but I’ve got expertise. If you focus on the forest, you might miss the trees.” Eat Fuck Sleep Forever opens abruptly with bright, joyous synths and electro-pop guitar. “Breakfast is a protein bar and dinner is a jumping jack.” The lyrics are a bit quirkier than the rest of the record, with a cynical twist. “Yeah, you’re gonna lose it all, if you analyse it.”

Beatles-esque electric guitar opens Maybe I Should? The song is more experimental than the rest of the record, balancing out the 60’s soft rock sound with dark, industrial-sounding drums and haunting synths. Glitching synths close the song on an uncomfortable note, fitting the theme of discomfort throughout the album. Instrumental w/o Voice Note closes the record, using the same soft acoustic guitar used previously.

‘Life Is A Killer’ perfectly encapsulates the internal struggles with self-esteem and having your shit together perfectly in a way unheard of in many records. Murphy beautifully encapsulates the monotonous struggles faced moreso with aging and gaining more responsibilities; he gives voice to issues that are so normal, their hardships are barely acknowledged. He takes one of the most vulnerable periods of his life and transforms it into a comforting collection of tracks. The interpersonal elements weaved through with the voice notes of his family make the project even more special, and an album everyone can find a piece of themselves in.


With thanks to Positive Feedback

Leave a Reply

Optimized by Optimole