EP REVIEW: Love, Fame, Tragedy – ‘Live From Sir, Hollywood’

Words by Emily Hollitt

Love, Fame, Tragedy is an act I heard a lot about but had yet to dive fully into. Solo project of The WombatsMatthew ‘Murph’ Murphy understandably has a lot of similarities to Murphy’s origin band, yet deviates in new exciting ways. And what better way to explore this sound than through raw, live recordings. As the EP title suggests, each track was recorded at Hollywood’s Studio Instrument Rentals which has welcomed the likes of music legends Joan Jett and Sting. The live EP features tracks from his 2 previous EP’s ‘I Don’t Want To Play The Victim, But I’m Really Good At It’ and ‘Five Songs to Briefly Fill the Void’. 

Multiply begins the EP, deviating from the tracks original recorded introduction, replacing distorted voices with synths and guitars. Originally recorded as a duet with Jack River, the live version sounds more like an alternative indie band track rather than the more synthetic pop sound tone of the produced version. This is mostly due to the sparkly guitar tones throughout which contrasting the gritty guitar tones in the song’s final down chorus. Matthew’s voice sounds virtually exactly the same as any of his recorded work, a mark of a truly experienced performance vocalist. Body Parts follows with deep synth and sampled tambourines to open the track as Murphy’s voice dances gently over the top. The choruses hit hard, with gritty guitars taking the foreground and female harmonies subtly provide more texture to the leads. A steady hi-hat driven drum beat drives the choruses forward, adding to the overall edge of the track. The harmonies and vocal delay create a gang-like vocal scenario in the song’s later choruses as he sings “I want your body parts, until our bodies part”. 

Church-like organ and singled out vocals open Pills as harmonies are slowly introduced alongside gentle atmospheric guitars. Fast-paced synthetic drums and deep bass synths switch up the tone of the track in the chorus alongside echo-y chopped up vocal samples. The drum beat stays consistent throughout the second verse, keeping the songs traction alive. The line “What am I gonna do with me?” introduces each chorus, sung in soft, airy female vocals before the harshness of the chorus kicks in. “Why don’t you love me the way that I love you?” Murphy repeats in the bridge, as more and more vocals join to back him up. “The pills don’t work anymore, not like they used to”

The grittiness continues throughout My Cheating Heart as Matthew’s voice is introduced, much darker in delivery than the previous tracks. “Money, women, cars, leave my head among the stars because I want it all” he sings with an almost boyish glee, capturing his overall attraction to the limelight in his confessional track about moving from Liverpool to LA and the excessive lifestyle he enjoys with his move. The overall grudge and edge of the tone give context to the allusive attraction to these big cities, and the high-feeling the high live gives you, captured beautifully by the music and even more so in a live setting.

Please Don’t Murder Me juxtaposes this sound entirely, with a much softer delivery and smoother, more reverberated guitar tones. On a livestream Q+A earlier this year, Matthew admitted that this track was written originally in jest about his wife. However the sincerity of the live version detracts from the tongue-in-cheek intentions and gives it a more serious, sadder tone. The minimalism of the single guitar and basic vocals draw the listener into the vocal lines. Gentle harmonies sit over the main vocal lines in the chorus, drawing the listener in to the words even further.

Should I get away from the bed where I lay? Should I be afraid of you? Darling please don’t murder me… you’re the best I’ve you’re all I’ll ever need”

The shortness of the track and the straight-to-the-point lyrics detail any normal couple fight yet using the metaphor of murder to analyse the scathing words someone who knows you well can say in conflict, particular after your own wrongdoing. 

Final track Riding A Wave is the perfect indie pop bop to end the EP on. The bouncy drums and guitars, percussive claps and repetitive, high-energy chorus gives the track a danceable aspect that translates brilliantly live. The guitar tones contribute greatly to the live interpretation to the track, adding depth and texture that translates differently than the recorded version and gives the overall sound a more natural feel and groove. 

While the world’s in shut down and the world’s on a live music break Love, Fame, Tragedy’s ‘Live From Sir, Hollywood’ does a great job of filling that void. The entire experience feels like listening to a whole concert from your couch. The change to live instruments over the in-the-box production of the recordings gives the songs a sound familiar with fans of The Wombats, a band any fan of Murphy’s know kill it live! A beer in hand (maybe a Corona?) is the perfect way to digest this 15 minute energetic masterpiece of natural sounding live recordings. So thank you Love, Fame, Tragedy for blessing us with this EP when the world truly needs it. 

Stream Love, Fame, Tragedy’s ‘Live From Sir, Hollywood’ HERE



Thanks to Six Boroughs Media

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