In 2018 - 45 years since the death of Pablo Picasso - London’s Tate Modern staged its first ever solo exhibition of his work called Love, Fame, Tragedy.
The exhibition sought to document the artist’s most creative year, 1932, and demonstrate the full extent of his complexity and richness. Coaxing out a similar kind of trajectory, Love Fame Tragedy - the solo venture of The Wombats’ Matthew “Murph” Murphy - gifts us reverberations of intense personal and confessional feelings across a collection of seventeen tracks.
The project started as a bunch of songs Murph wrote back in 2016 which didn’t quite fit the tone of The Wombats’ fourth album Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life. His new album under the Love Fame Tragedy moniker - entitled Wherever I Go, I Want To Leave - is a lusciously uninhibited collection of songs, bringing together a host of collaborators from across the world of indie, rock and pop, providing an introspective accumulation of intimate musings, indie bangers and synth-pop sounds.
The opening track, “5150”, ponders modern day escapism. The title actually refers to the California law of “individuals who present a danger to themselves or others due to signs of mental illness”. Speaking on the track, Murph said; “In this case it refers more to how I occasionally feel a need to escape, regardless of the repercussions.” When the desire to be impulsive is high, instant gratification can drive you to do something differently: “Sorry, but some days aren't so pretty / I wanna hit the brakes but I hit the gas”.
The album also includes the popular and catchy “Pills”, with singer-songwriter Lauren Aquilina’s vocals harmonising with Murph’s, and electronic soundscapes, a drum beat and the kind of hook that will be left lasting in your head for weeks. “Everything Affects Me Now” is also a standout - featuring Pixies’ Joey Santiago, The Killers’ Mark Stoermer and drummer Matt Chamberlain - it’s an upbeat and reflective account of wrestling with the milestones of adult life.
Having flown unhindered into the world since its announcement a year ago, Love Fame Tragedy and Wherever I Go, I Want To Leave is an unwavering account of the interpersonal, the emotionally chaotic, and the complexity of love; all in one.