It was just the other day that I found myself squeezed into the front row of a sold out Grouplove performance at the iconic Emerald City venue “The Crocodile”. The show was a blast and notable for a handful of reasons. Most notably, it was the live debut of most of the songs off of Grouplove’s new album “Spreading Rumours” (the very posh British spelling). Additionally, they were selling the new album at the show, despite the fact that it’s not due out until September 17th. The band had a lot to live up to following the commercial hits of their first album, but after hearing most of this album from a crowd and then from my headphones, I think it’s safe to say they’ve topped themselves.
Following up their 2011 party-pop debut Never Trust a Happy Song, this L.A. quintet has yet again captured a youthfully fun feel with even more bells and whistles. The band brims with energy on shout-a-long tracks like the heavy “Borderlines and Aliens” or the faintly synth-pop opener “I’m With You”. “Ways to Go” occupies the role of infectious lead single with its simplistic keyboard riff and bouncy electro-drum beat. Its my personal choice for fun-in-the-sun song of the summer.
A strong sense of collaboration and good vibrations attaches itself to Grouplove’s music, they have fun and I have fun listening to them. I particularly enjoy the interplay between Kurt Cobain-esque frontman Christian Zucconi and the band’s endlessly jovial backup vocalist Hannah Hooper. The whole musical affair comes off like a hippy-dippy house party where the fun never stops.
Like the first album, there’s one minor kick that tugs at my ripped jeans. Spreading Rumours feels very frontloaded. The five best songs are the five first songs. The rest of the bunch is passable but not nearly as memorable. Still, the album has a better feng shui than its predecessor, more balanced. Not to mention that armed with this new material they put on a helluva show. Only time will tell if the rest of the music world will be tapping its toes or wagging its finger at Spreading Rumours for being too sugary sweet. Either way, I’m content to hold on to this pop/rock cavity.
Favorite Tracks: “I’m With You,” “School Boy,” “Ways to Go”