Grouplove at MINI Countryman Wanderlust (Malibu) – Photo: Dominoe Farris-Gilbert
Everyone in the world should listen to Never Trust a Happy Song. This is the title of the debut full-length by the Los Angeles ensemble, Grouplove. This album is a blissful jewel of ripe sounds and sugary vocals coated to perfection. We’ve covered Grouplove numerous times and can confirm that their live show is something truly special. But what about their debut album? Well …
It’s not often that a debut album comes out after the band has played their songs at over a hundred shows and festivals. Similar to the UK indie sensation, the Vaccines—Grouplove was already up-and-touring even before their debut LP dropped. In fact, they were already signed to a major label (Atlantic). They won the hearts of fans worldwide solely on their live show—and that speaks mountains for a new band.
Kicking off with a set of synchronized soul-claps, the potent album opener, “Itchin’ On A Photograph” is a song that exudes the bitter sweetness we all experience when photos lead us to remember times that have past. After listening to this track, you get a feel for the rest of the album since it perfectly sets the tone for this record. For those of you that have never listened to Grouplove, I would describe the way they belt out their songs to be straight from their soul—not their gut. The band is just cohesively full of so much friendly energy, you can’t help but be stricken with joy while listening to them.
My favorite song, and probably your favorite as well, is “Colours.” This song was on their self-titled EP along with the track “Naked Kids.” I can’t really say exactly why I love “Colours,” but I do feel it’s a song for the senses. It makes me feel a flood of emotions more plentiful than the stars in the sky—it’s something momentous. When listening to it I see images to the lyrics, and the music just makes me want to run around in blissful madness. However, I think the best thing about the song “Colours” is that it sounds like hope.
Track six, “Naked Kids” deserves to be the sound track to every summer you will ever have for the rest of your life. Trust me on that. Its introductory ethereal hums lull you to comfort, while frontman, Christian Zucconi’s sunny vocals commence to wake you up with that Sunday-funday summer vibe.
Never Trust a Happy Song wraps up the album with the song “Close Your Eyes and Count to Ten.” This song reminds me of growing up in the vast country lands of Texas, and howling along with the coyotes. I did this all the time with drunken friends or even my family. This track begins and ends with this type of communal and eerily beautiful howls. The rest of the song sounds like a lullaby to a lover with a bit of a 50s retro touch. Just like Grouplove, the song is warm, entrancing and so full of life.
Grouplove are the quintessential American indie band. They embody all things pleasurable and inviting through their emotive indie rock tunes. Whether you feel the need to hug someone, or jump around and possibly headbang (such as in their high octane track, “Spun”), Grouplove effect you in ways that many bands have tried, but never accomplished. They’re far from boring, with each song carefully tailored to exude an individual personality. There aren’t any redundant blob of tracks—just pure flavorful listening. This is the type of album you play for week’s on end.
Words: Roxanne Hilburn