The Wombats, ‘The Wombats Proudly Present…A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation’ (Roadrunner)
Despair rules on this Liverpool threesome’s crackling debut, wrapping loneliness in spiffy power pop. Looking for the lighter side of crushing disappointment, frontman Matthew Murphy fends off depression with wry quips, recounting how a “sleazy remark about her whorish dress” spoiled a promising encounter (“Backfire at the Disco”) and confessing an unhealthy obsession with unattainable women, including a drunken dental hygienist (“Little Miss Pipedream”). But when he drops the “quirky anecdotes” and gets serious on “Here Comes the Anxiety,” the sadness is devastating. Keep the jokes coming, lads!