Grouplove are a BIG, BIG mess; but what a good mess they are. Their newest album, Big Mess, is comprehensible chaos, strategically implemented to make the listener feel that disarray is the best thing to ever happen to any bystander with earphones. However, aside from this freneticism, there was clearly a significant amount of work that was put into the making of this album. From radio-friendly songs like “Welcome to Your Life,” to the thicker melodies of “Traumatic,” Grouplove maintain a wild, sporadic energy throughout the album.
Undoubtedly, Grouplove are unique in their sound, style and performance. Yet, aside from its musical qualities, the Los Angeles band’s latest work also manages to achieve an impressive degree of symbolic and emotional depth. Their music possesses some truly impactful messages. For example, the music video for the album’s first track, “Welcome to Your Life,” displays a young school girl watching the world on a small TV screen. This screen then becomes larger, whilst displaying beautiful images of life. Finally, the video ends, and as the child observes her palms she realizes that she holds change within her hands. Even though the band members’ campy outfits resemble something straight from the early ’90s sitcom, My So-Called Life, the song’s metaphorical imagery resonates strongly. Lyrically, “Welcome to Your Life” conveys a simple, yet powerful, message: “mean man, machine man/I’ve been nothing but a puppet’s hand/but nothing ever comes/without a change.” Here, Grouplove seem to be referencing society’s tendency to encourage people to be puppets that merely conform to norms and expectations. However, as suggested by vocalist Christian Zucconi’s lyrical phrase, by breaking away from the status quo, one can bring change to the world.
Big Mess‘s eighth track, “Traumatized,” marks a distinctive high-point on the album. In what is an interesting love story, to say the least, the song seems to be dedicated to a pregnant girlfriend. Accompanied by a chorus of rousing power chords and forceful percussive hits, a boyfriend discusses his anticipation over being a father, due to the poor example set by his own parents. He explains to his girlfriend that his father and mother were traumatized by parenthood. However, his inevitable love for his girlfriend ultimately overrides that worry, as the lyrics state that, “she is my only one true love in the world cause she’s my fucking girl.” “Traumatized” is refreshingly different from the rest of the album. Its music and lyrics are far more raw, making it feel less like sanitized indie-pop and more like rock ‘n’ roll. The track also coincides well with the title of the album, as the overall tone of the song feels quite “messy.” Similarly, “Cannonball” has highs and lows that allow for its music to flow rapidly in various directions, while still managing to fit together like a puzzle.
Grouplove’s sound has never been so colorful and intertwined. Those who venture deeply enough into Big Mess will encounter hidden gems like the ninth track of the album, “Heart of Mine,” which is earthy, loud and catchy, featuring a winding guitar solo that perfectly compliments the album artwork. Every melody, every beat, every aspect of the album is so compatible with one another that it seems as though its creation was something that was predestined in the stars. Big Mess is happy and fun. Above all else, it is a feel-good album. Listeners will enjoy its upbeat songs, as Grouplove’s cast of 20-somethings continue to take the music world by storm.