Release Date: Sep 17, 2013
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock
If you’ve ever pondered the question ‘What would Arcade Fire have sounded like if no-one had ever died?’, time to get acquainted with Grouplove. Such is their dedication to upbeat party-starting, this Los Angeles college pop band has even done the voguish thing and gone electro for album number two. Luckily, no amount of squelchy beats, dubstep bass, trip-hop crackles and gabba breakdowns can suppress their effervescent sense of melody: see the likes of ‘Shark Attack’ and ‘I’m With You’, which finds Christian Zucconi bawling like the sugar-rushing lovechild of Jack White and Conor Oberst while Hannah Hooper adds the adorable angel harmonies.
One of the best neo-post-punk bands to emerge from the indie rock landscape in the wake of MGMT's success, Los Angeles' Grouplove brought catchy, buoyant melodicism to their 2011 debut, Never Trust a Happy Song. The band's sophomore follow-up, 2013's Spreading Rumours, is an equally kaleidoscopic if more focused album that retains all of the touchstones that made their previous release so engaging. We still get the dual lead vocals of guitarist Christian Zucconi and keyboardist Hannah Hooper, as well as the infectious percussive rhythms via drummer Ryan Rabin, guitarist Andrew Wessen, and bassist Sean Gadd.
Full of joyful enthusiasm, Grouplove’s 2011 debut album Never Trust A Happy Song was an irresistible collection of sunny indie pop songs. While the record was almost too glossy and polished for its own good at times, with tracks such as the infectious Colours and party anthem Tongue Tied leading the way, there was enough substance to suggest that the California-based quintet had the potential to go on and achieve something special. Three years later and Grouplove return with that all-important second album, Spreading Rumours.
Indie-pop fanatics rejoice, LA hedonists Grouplove are back. With their first release since 2011?s debut, Never Trust A Happy Song, new record Spreading Rumours is set to similarly bother charts and infect the masses with a serious case of the boogies. Spawning hit singles like ‘Tongue Tied’ and ‘Colours’, the quirky five-piece obviously have a knack for kooky, jerky synthpop and the kind of hooks that ricochet inside your skull like a kangaroo on Red Bull.
Grouplove make shaggy arena rock for the pool-skating set, like Arcade Fire with a seventh-grade sense of humor. Their second LP retains the goofy amiability of their debut and cranks the Nineties influences – "Raspberry" is the best Pixies song since 1991, and the loopy "Hippy Hill" downshifts into a sludgy bridge after Christian Zucconi makes a bold proclamation: "I'd rather be a hippie than a hipster." .
GrouploveSpreading Rumours(Atlantic/Canvasback)Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars With Spreading Rumours, the L.A.-based quintet serves up a second massive helping of kinetic, kaleidoscopic pop. The album’s dizzying array of sounds and textures seamlessly incorporates styles as diverse as alt-rock and contemporary EDM, making an elegant dance out of the tightrope walk between glossy radio pop and rough-hewn indie rock. Whether for artistic or budgetary reasons, it’s hard to find a band today that hasn’t tried recording itself; in Grouplove’s case, having drummer Ryan Rabin occupy the engineer’s and producer’s chairs is not a make-do scenario.
Being in Grouplove must be a whole heap of fun. There’s not a moment during this second full-length, ‘Spreading Rumours’, that doesn’t ooze the kind of enthusiasm that isn’t limited to just the LA-based band’s own five members, but that they want everyone listening to take part in, too. The music is largely euphoric throughout, and the quintet, whether lead by Hannah Hooper or Christian Zucconi on lead vocal duties, make much use of the kind of cacophony perfected by the pre-James Murphy Arcade Fire.But unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot other to be so gleeful about.
Grouplove’s biggest asset is their ability to channel a special kind of indie escapism reserved for only the catchiest of songs. Their 2011 debut, Never Trust A Happy Song, was a juggernaut of quirky Apple commercial-worthy earworms about naked kids prancing around beaches, making out at your best friend’s house, and general tongue-in-cheek debauchery. I haven’t a goddamn clue what “Itchin’ On A Photograph” means, but its melody and Christian Zucconi’s James Mercer-on-steroids vocals are so supremely sticky that I was always too busy dancing to care.