I first heard Grouplove in 2012 and may have been drawn towards them with some bias as the song that first introduced me to them is called Chloe. But, they were fun and still are. Having formed back in 2009, the band have most recently released their third album.
The band’s first album Never Trust A Happy Love Song topped the US charts at 75, whilst their second album released in 2013 climbed to 21. At the moment their latest album is at 28 a week after release which is very promising.
There’s no hanging around with Grouplove’s newest album Big Mess which launches straight into the bouncy opening track Welcome To Your Life, in which the opening line is: “We’re back in business, you’re so a big mess and I love you.” Which, as a uni student, is a line I find painfully relatable in an awful, cliché tumblr kind of way. However, Grouplove have always been unreservedly and unashamedly indie. Their sound has always struck me as notably unpolished, and Big Mess is no exception, especially in the vocals of Christian Zucconi who comes across as almost uncaring and actually enjoying the song rather than striving for the faff of perfection. It makes the band immediately sound much more authentic and interesting; no auto tune, no fakery.
Grouplove also have a more diverse track list in this album than Spreading Rumours and Never Trust A Happy Song. It holds some of their most daring guitar solos in tracks like Standing In The Sun, whilst the delicate track Hopefully which concludes the album and opens with just piano and layered vocals. Another favourite song is Spinning, here the female vocals of other lead singer Hannah Hooper alternates well with that of Christian Zucconi. Zucconi’s falsetto in this track is a good texture and word painting for the weakness portrayed through the lyrics: “My legs are tired, but I keep on pushing / I drop my hands and let my head fall heavy down.”
Having said that, the album probably lends itself more to background music as the songs in the middle of Big Mess are less distinct and memorable. You’re hardly left disappointed from listening to ‘Big Mess’ and nothing would put you off to stop you listening again, but it doesn’t keep you hooked and need your undivided attention for the full forty minutes.
Grouplove are a good band if you like other indie-pop bands such as Edward Sharp And The Maganetic Zeros or Young The Giant. Plus, Big Mess is an album which fits comfortably into the plethora of other LPs of the genre.