The Wombats' new album is titled 'Fix Yourself, Not The World'.
When UK indie rock sensations The Wombats began writing their fifth studio album, they had no idea how much hidden meaning the work would imbue.
Due for release next Friday (14 January), 'Fix Yourself, Not The World' was "about 40 per cent" written in Los Angeles in 2019.
Now frontman Matthew 'Murph' Murphy's home base, he was joined there by bandmates Tord Øverland Knudsen and Dan Haggis "two or three times" to write together.
"We got a good body of work and then once the world went to hell in a handbasket I kind of did a lot of work out here," Murph says.
The unintended consequence of recording much of the album remotely was an "amazing" experience, says Murph.
"The recording process for me was amazing, because I worked like a nine to five day; I could trundle down to the studio with an engineer and that was it. . . It was a bit different for the guys, who were in London with the producer for most of it.
"It was funny – we would do a Zoom call in my morning, their evening, to discuss what had been done that day and what I was going to do, you know, have the necessary creative debates or arguments about what we were going to change and stuff.
"Then as time progressed those Zooms got shorter and shorter until they just didn't happen any more. And then everyone was on different parts of different songs, doing God knows what."
The hardest part, according to Murph, was actually putting the material together. "We found that we had to press 'delete' a lot, and yeah, that was the hardest aspect of it," he says.
The band released ballad 'Method To The Madness' as a first taste to their new work, which was followed by 'If You Ever Leave, I'm Coming With You'.
"'If You Ever Leave I'm Coming With You’ was something that my wife said to me at the start of our journey together, I guess, and I always thought it was quite dark and funny and I guess I am attracted to that," Murph laughs.
"It's like committing to something just too far. Yeah, I don't know, it's just a fun song about kind of never giving up on someone or something."
The album's closing song, 'Fix Yourself, Then The World' was also semi-inspired by Murph's wife.
"She will freak out in the morning so much that she doesn't have breakfast or lunch, and then wonders why she feels like sh.t in the afternoons, and I'm like, 'Well you need to take care of yourself, otherwise you can't really take care of anyone else with as much efficiency'," he says.
"But honestly, that song is not really a song, it's just a thing that happened in 2019 when we were in the studio and we thought it was cool and we wanted to put it as like an interlude somewhere, and I wanted to call it that to take any heat off of the album title.
"I feel like there are ways that the album title could be misconstrued, such as activism is pointless, or something like that, which I'm not trying to say. But I wanted it to end on a positive note."
Murph says his favourite track on the new record is 'This Car Drives All By Itself', describing it as one of the "special moments" every album needs.
"You know, those songs are nice because you just feel like a passenger in the process, or some kind of conduit and it's just kind of happening in front of you, and I feel like when I get that feeling I know what I'm doing is good," he says.
"I feel like that song really helps hammer home the overarching theme of the album as well, which is kind of letting go, realising you're not as in control of things as you think you are, and something like there's far more utility in positivity than there is in cynicism."
Although the band had no idea of the impending pandemic when they began writing 'Fix Yourself...', the themes it explores fit perfectly with what the world has been enduring the past two years.
"I kind of feel like it should be a fairly liberating album, and personally I'm at this place where I am trying to let go and be more present and grateful or whatever, and I think those aspects were going to be in the songs no matter what the state of affairs of the world was going to be," Murph says.
"So maybe it's just good timing."
The Wombats will tour Australia mid-year, and Murph says he can't wait to return to their "home away from home".
"I mean it's cheesy to say 'home away from home' but it always has been; the fans and the reaction we get whenever we're there is amazing, and they took to us like white on rice, you know.
"It always feels great to be down there and I always try to make a holiday out of it, whether I come two weeks early or I stay two weeks late or whatever it is, we just love being there, whether it's for business or pleasure to be honest."
'Fix Yourself, Not The World' is released 14 January.
The Wombats 2022 Tour Dates
Sun 5 Jun - HBF Stadium (Perth) Tue 7 Jun - City Hall (Hobart) Thu 9 Jun - Adelaide Entertainment Centre Theatre Fri 10 Jun - John Cain Arena (Melbourne) Sat 11 Jun - Hordern Pavilion (Sydney)* sold out Wed 15 Jun - UC Refectory (Canberra)* sold out Fri 17 Jun - The Riverstage (Brisbane)