The Wombats get into self-mutilation on ‘Cheetah Tongue’ – Review

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By Alex

The Wombats have released a third cut from their upcoming album Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life. ‘Cheetah Tongue’ follows ‘Lemon To A Knife Fight’ and ‘Turn’ as the latest track taken from the band’s fourth studio album due out on February 9th.

So far, sneak peeks of The Wombats’ newest record have given us conflicting messages. While the album’s first single, ‘Lemon To A Knife Fight’, dealt in anger and vitriol, follow-up single ‘Turn’ was a Drake-inspired ode to marital bliss. But this is to be expected from The Wombats, a band who deal in capricious mood swings and frenetic changes of direction. ‘Cheetah Tongue’ offers another switch of gear, the band in a wistful mood as they consider the shelf-life of a precarious relationship.

‘Cheetah Tongue’ is an oddly animal-centric affair, including references to black flamingos, fireflies and jellyfish, along with the cheetah of the title. So what is a cheetah tongue? Perhaps it refers to speaking before one thinks, with lead singer Matthew ‘Murph’ Murphy longing to do away with the habit for good as he declares “I cut off my head and my cheetah tongue.” It’s typical of The Wombats’ fanciful approach to lyrics, their penchant for writing in unusual metaphors and turns of phrase still as keen as ever.

Despite its casual mentions of decapitation, ‘Cheetah Tongue’ is a quietly optimistic track. “Maybe this time the good stuff can last,” Murph pines over vocal sighs and psych-pop percussion. As we learned in ‘Lemon To A Knife Fight’, Murph isn’t always so level-headed when it comes to lovers’ tiffs, so perhaps by removing his ‘cheetah tongue’, he hopes he’ll  adopt a more measured response to relationship aggro. In this sense, despite the track’s abundance of weird and warped imagery, ‘Cheetah Tongue’ can be read as a lovers’ promise to think before they speak, making a concerted effort to change for the sake of a relationship they’re desperate to keep alive.

‘Cheetah Tongue’ is another above-par tune to add to The Wombats’ back catalogue, proof that in these tough post-indie times, there are still some bands able to add a little flavour to a genre many thought had long turned stale.

@alexsnorris

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