Like many other Wombats fans, my curiosity was sparked when I first heard about Love Fame Tragedy, creative project of Matthew “Murph” Murphy. The project was described best when Murph stated “it’s somewhere between Gorillaz and a solo project” in an interview earlier this year. On the 8th October at Sydney’s iconic Oxford Art Factory, I was able to hear the songs of LFT’s EP I Don’t Want To Play The Victim, But I’m Really Good At It live which was released in late September.
Well, I lie, I was able to experience this at their Yours & Owls festival set the weekend prior but I wanted to indulge in the way their new sound adapted from a festival crowd to an intimate room of fans. I’ve seen Murph play to festival crowds and fill out arena’s before but Oxford Art Factory was a whole new setting.
Unlike his festival set, LFT had punters, young and old, waiting out front of OAF for hours before the doors opened. I’m not quite sure what for but a good line is all a part of the experience, right? Maybe it was to score a prime seat on the leather couches seated on the upper deck of OAF overlooking the crowd and stage... Smart. There was however, one thing we all had in common, the anticipation for an absolute ripper of a show.
Bedroom producer and singer-songwriter Austen, welcomed the night. After releasing her debut single ‘Faded’ in 2016, Australia has welcomed her moody, synth pop including the release of her EP ‘Passenger Seat’ in September this year. I was honestly surprised at Austen’s appearance on the lineup with the contrast in musical maturity by performance and sound. Her clean, rehearsed synth pop was safe and enjoyable. The crowd pipe up when she played an accurate rendition of ‘Paper Planes’ by M.I.A. It was enjoyable, delighting in new music, however an underwhelming live performance.
No matter how hard you try, you can’t disconnect the iconic Liverpool accent that has imprinted on The Wombats from Murph’s new project. I’m sure all of the comparisons have been made between The Wombats and LFT. What LFT lacks for in two talented Englishman, it makes up for with it’s entertaining concoction of steady but sure drum beats, melodic synth, dirty guitar and vocals we’ve all come to know and love. I do admire Murphy’s artistic ability to create infectious pop music out of monotonous lyrics. But that’s what you get for lapping up catchy pop tunes.
He opened with ‘Backflip’, one of his gritty electro-pop singles that has seen Murph recapture the attention of his Australian fans.
The overall live performance was reserved, charming even. Murph came out in a classy blue suit, adorned by his guitar. Beside him, his guitarist looked as though he were tempted to charge into the crowd at any moment. Understandably, he had the most exciting parts of the show. His use of the OAF stage was impressive.
Murph is an awkward bloke. His dry humour didn’t quite nail the introduction his forthcoming love song about his wife murdering him (with love) as we soon found out. Switching to his acoustic guitar, a rush of murmurs moved the crowd. An acoustic, from Murph? How exciting! The crowd burst into laughter as he sang the first few lines. They soon settled as the song was played with sincerity.
‘Pills’ definitely came through as the crowd favourite, sending the room into chaotic, infectious dance mode.
LFT graced the crowd with a run of forthcoming songs. It was more of the same dirty pop that fed off the repetitive call and response hooks of Murph and his back up vocalist. The setlist was a great collection to dance to but with the repetitive form, the crowd found them singing along to most of the new songs. Out of the unknown tracks played ‘Body Parts’ definitely took the cake with the crowd. It was fueled by tumultuous electric guitar, an absolute meaty electro-pop track.
Love Fame Tragedy finished with My Cheating Heart, the leading single of the project. Of course, the crowd was wired and hungry for more but with LFT’s limited discography, the room was left wondering how long they’d have to wait for new music.