I remember the first time I listened to Never Trust A Happy Song, and immediately realized I had discovered a fantastically creative new band. Five years after Grouplove’s smashing debut, one of RARAs Farm’s 2011 Albums of the Year, the Los Angeles quintet is poised to release their third album, Big Mess, which is bringing back some of those same warm feelings.
Since they released “Welcome To Your Life,” a song dedicated to the newborn child of singers Christian Zucconi and Hannah Hooper, we’ve been treated to a tempting stream of singles. “Do You Love Someone”, “Traumatized” and “Enlighten Me” have provided enticing glimpses into the new album, four divergent offerings that spotlight the harmonious diversity of this talented group.
Grouplove seems to have tapped into a never-ending fountain of delicious pop-tinged alternative rock. The songs on Big Mess deliver a feel good vibe carried on the wings of catchy hooks and luscious harmonies, often highlighted with edgy touches. It’s a formula that works well and fits the band perfectly.
And much to the chagrin of pretentious, unrealistic critics everywhere, there are a few tracks destined to reappear on TV commercials and movies over the next few months, and in my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with that – it’s too damn hard to make money in the rock music business these days, why shouldn’t bands be capitalizing on any streams available?
Big Mess is what it is, a glitzy, interesting offering that’s a fun listen. “Welcome To Your Life,” leads off the album and showcases the formula that rocketed the band into stardom five years ago. Sweet boy/girl vocals from Zucconi and Hooper, a touch of gang vocals, catchy riffs, and sweetly addictive harmonies. It’s one of a handful of strong offerings on the new album.
The second single, “Do You Love Someone” is just as compelling, but it’s a synth driven offering, with heavy bass and grittier vocals from Zucconi. Then we got a glimpse of the edgiest track yet, and my favorite offering on the album, “Traumatized.” It’s a punk-laced offering spiced up with the juxtaposition of sweet harmonies and vicious guitarwork. Then just today, we got our first glimpse of the slow burner that is “Enlighten Me.”
After hearing the nice diversity of the first four songs, I was anxious to hear the rest of Big Mess, and I was pleased with the sounds coursing through my earbuds as Grouplove continues to push their sound in creative new directions.
The album features a handful of extremely likeable pop rock nuggets, but there are plenty of slick rock ‘n roll guitar riffs or heavy percussion pushing the songs along. “Don’t Stop Making It Happen” and “Good Morning” are uplifting “Mowgliesque” ditties guaranteed to leave you dancing across the room
The album was recorded in Los Angeles and Seattle with producers Captain Cuts (Grouplove drummer Ryan Rabin) and Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses, The Shins) , Their work is never more in evidence than on “Hollywood,” which is a fantastically produced anthem-in-the-waiting spotlighting soaring melodies and beautifully dulcet piano.
The album, recorded in Los Angeles and Seattle, is out this Friday, September 9th on Canvasback Music/Atlantic Records.
And, check out some other killer new music we’ve dug up for your enjoyment here: RARA’s Fresh Crops
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BIG MESS TRACKLISTING
1. Welcome To Your Life
2. Do You Love Someone
3. Standing in The Sun
4. Enlighten Me
5. Good Morning
9. Heart Of Mine
10. Don’t Stop Making It Happen
NORTH AMERICAN TOUR
10/5 – Las Vegas, NV – Brooklyn Bowl*+
10/6 – Oakland, CA – Fox Theater*+
10/7 – Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Palladium*+
10/10 – Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom*+
10/13 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theatre*+
10/14 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile Café*
10/17 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex – Grand Room*+
10/18 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre*+
10/21 – Kansas City, MO – Uptown Theatre+
10/22 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue*+
10/23 – Madison, WI – Orpheum Theater*+
10/25 – Indianapolis, IN – Egyptian Room at Old National Centre*+
10/27 – Columbus, OH – Express Live!*
10/29 – Royal Oak, MI – Royal Oak Music Theatre*+
10/30 – Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall*
10/31 – Montréal, QC – Corona Theatre*
11/1 – Philadelphia, PA – The Fillmore*+
11/3 – Boston, MA – House of Blues*+
11/5 – New York, NY – Hammerstein Ballroom+
11/9 – Washington, DC – Echostage*+
11/10 – Norfolk, VA – The Norva*+
11/12 – Nashville, TN – Cannery Ballroom*+
11/13 – New Orleans, LA – House of Blues*+
11/15 – Dallas, TX – House of Blues*+
11/16 – Houston, TX – House of Blues*+
11/18 – Austin, TX – Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater*+
+with Dilly Dally