Heart and solo: Wombats frontman takes chance on new project

Gone to ‘bat: Matthew “Murph” Murphy, lead singer of the Wombats, will bring his solo project Love Fame Tragedy to Williamsburg’s Rough Trade on Sept. 25.
Kate Biel

He’s taking a chance on Love.

The frontman of popular British indie-pop act the Wombats is flying solo for the next year or so. After 16 years as the guitarist and singer for the Liverpool three-piece, Matthew “Murph” Murphy will play with his new project Love Fame Tragedy at Rough Trade in Williamsburg on Sept. 25.

Playing an intimate show in the back of a record store will mark a major change from his last stop in the New York area, when the Wombats opened for the Rolling Stones at Metlife Stadium. But Murph says that he needed to shake things up a bit, even as his band’s following keeps growing across the U.S.

“Whether this project succeeds or fails, I think it’s important for my creativity and my brain,” he said. “I just wanted to try something new. I wanted to give myself an avenue in which to do that.”

And he is not breaking up the Wombats, he insists — he’s just adding something else.

“I don’t really think I’m going solo, just starting up another project; maybe focusing more around collaborations involving similar kinds of people I’ve met over the years,” he said.

His debut album, “I Don’t Want To Play The Victim, But I’m Really Good At It,” which he recorded in 2018, features a stellar lineup of musical friends and collaborators. The name Love Fame Tragedy comes from a Pablo Picasso exhibit that resonated with the singer, he said.

“I was after a title for the new project that had this looping feeling to it; it seems like an endless cycle or way of being. It triggered a lot of things and a lot of songs flew out after that,” Murph explained.

The album features catchy anthems and classic synth-pop confessionals, where hedonism, responsibility, anxiety, and the fragility of love collide.

“It’s kind of melodic alt-pop rock; there’s always hints of self-deprecating humor kind of coming through it,” said Murph.

Two singles have already been released: “My Cheating Heart” and “Backflip,” which Murph describes as “a fatalistic take on relationships and dating apps.”

Despite the angsty tone of some of the songs, Murph said that a snapshot of his life now would reveal he is the happiest he has ever been.

“My last bunch of albums and reaction to going solo has been great,” he said. “It’d be a picture of me with a big cheesy grin!”

Love Fame Tragedy at Rough Trade [64 N. Ninth St. between Kent and Wythe avenues in Williamsburg, (718) 388–4111, www.roughtradenyc.com]. Sept. 25 at 8:30 p.m. $18.

More from Around New York