Grouplove’s Rumours‘ Spirit
Grouplove is a band on the move. After meeting at an artists’ retreat in 2009, they exploded on the scene with a self-titled EP the following year and signed a record deal and released their first album a year later. Tracks from Never Trust a Happy Song found their way up the modern rock charts, as well as into iPod commercials and an episode of Glee. All the while, they’ve toured relentlessly, moving from opening slots for Florence and the Machine and Joy Formidable to headlining their own tours, and stopping at major festivals.
Their second album, Spreading Rumours, sticks to their established style. Their perpetual sugar high takes a few cues from jangly mid-nineties acts like Geggy Tah and later mall-pop group New Radicals. They are nothing if not free spirits, and they create music that can be uplifting and heartfelt at its best, or disjointed and scattered at its worst. Christian Zucconi and Hannah Hooper share lead vocals. Both have high-pitched, occasionally piercing, voices that shout well, but don’t add much depth or texture. Much of the lyrics come across as punchy nonsense so it might not matter anyway.
The childlike bounce of songs like “Ways to Go” and “Shark Attack” gives the album its frantic, quirky energy, spilling over, unable to wait to get to the next song and the next one after. They spread their wings a bit by adding some more electronic tricks to their pop, like on opener “I’m With You” with its looping piano trills and slowly bubbling beat. However, they shine brightest when they stray furthest from their comfort zone. Songs that put acoustic guitars, piano and muted drums up front ground their bohemia in an earthier sound. “Sit Still,” with its extended drum outro, the drowsy and contemplative “Hippy Hill” and album closer “Save the Party for Me” all benefit from this treatment, adding heart without sacrificing a bit of their free spirit.