Saturday, 21 September 2013

Grouplove - Spreading Rumours

Remember the summer of 2011?  The summer you couldn’t avoid Foster The People whilst their equally good Californian counter-parts Young the Giant and Grouplove skirted the edges and touring Ameri-rocker friends Cage the Elephant and Manchester Orchestra also released solid records?
You’l probably only remember Pumped Up Kicks, but on the smaller stages at all of the festivals you’d find Grouplove tearing it up in joyous and energetic fashion and out of all of their East Coast fleet, they’re the first ones to return. So how is their ‘difficult second record’?

Spreading Rumours starts with the enchantingly dense I’m With You. At first listen it sounds like a pulsating trip into the more grown up version of a band that was in their debut and preceding EP full of reckless abandon. The further into it you venture however the more you realise that this is a band that have spent plenty of time in the studio making their version of an American Carnival sound like the complex yet enjoyable time it is. This care to the complex continues in Borders and Aliens, as the band take a more mathematical backline and give it the kind of chorus that you’d expect to fall somewhere between The Maccabees and Biffy Clyro’s newest work.

Schoolboy and Ways to Go have more of the summertime feel that was on their first record; the latter of which sounds much like Tongue Tied’s older brother, before the middle-filler of the record comes in. It’s in this though that Grouplove show their true colours. Whilst the tracks themselves lack the hooks that could make them great sounding live songs, the lyrical content feels more honest. Sit Still deals with the issues of being noticed whilst in response to much of the ‘hippy’ criticism that came from the media two years ago “I’d rather be a hippy than a hipster // So come sit at my table” is blasted out of Christian Zucconi’s powerful voice.

Hannah Hopper’s voice too has matured and strengthened also. On Didn’t Have to Go, she rivals the power that the likes of Charlotte Cooper and Hayley Williams have honed over the years whilst filling it with raw emotion. If it didn’t have such a strange backing track, the track could be heartwrenching.
Raspberry feels just like Cage the Elephant at their best whilst album closer takes from the similar closing style as album one and the kind of sound that Dry The River tried to pen down last year. It’s a fairly cop-out ending but at the same time; it feels fitting to a record that even in the predictable parts feels like a keeper.  


Braden Fletcher

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