Album Review: Grouplove – “Big Mess”

grouplove-big-mess-2016

Grouplove is an indie pop rock band that resembles free spirited youth and continues to grace the music stage with hits that are quirky, fun and downright catchy. Though the band assembled a little late (around the late 2000s), their music has caught on quickly with the indie music scene. They have toured with the likes of Florence + the Machine and are also veterans to the festival stage. With hits such as “Tongue Tied” and “Colours”, the band’s spirit remains upbeat and different, unlike any other band we have heard of before.

Their latest album, Big Mess, is their third album and encompasses a more mature sound. The album stemmed from a time when the band was going through a chaotic time in their lives. Big Mess is the album where they really exposed themselves to their fans, opening up about the beauties and pitfalls and chaos that comes from living everyday life.

Their collective tracks on this album shows the band’s growth and progression since getting their start in the music industry. Their sound isn’t as raw and rough as when they first started. Though their earlier songs were great to listen to, it’s nice to see the change and the ebbs and flows that the band has endured. Critics claim that the band’s new music has a “radio ready” feel but even then, Big Mess contains elements of pop, indie and rock that were consistently present throughout their career and contributed to some of their earliest successes.

Their current hit song, “Welcome to Your Life”, lyrically explains the trials and tribulations that come with living life. The music video depicts a young girl sitting in a classroom. As she sits in a desk, enveloped in the confines of the school, she watches clips on the screen of some of biggest moments in life. The clips display how dynamic and colorful life can be. “Welcome to Your Life” perfectly sets the tone of the album and gives fans a glimpse into the band’s chaotic lives.

The third track in the album provides listeners with a different tempo. “Standing in The Sun” has a slow build up, filled with finger snapping and tambourine playing. This track’s paints a picture of just going down the California coast, listening to the Beach Boys with the top down. Though Grouplove has a lot of upbeat songs, I enjoyed this track’s slow progression and it’s melodic beat and easy going vibe. This track, among the later ones, diversifies the album making it well-rounded.

Each track holds a unique, distinctive mood that displays the band’s level of depth. Their ability to make their sound their own has left critics, dare I say it, tongue tied. But puns aside, as their album progresses, the band continues to paint a colorful, vibrant picture for their audience through their lyrics and sound. Some of their songs on the album have a strong indie vibe while others are more pop and some are even melodic. Moreover, their later tracks on the album continue to elaborate on the band’s perspective of life and its beauty amidst the chaos.

Their track “Heart Of Mine” has a steady progression throughout the entirety of the song that’s carried by the drums and guitar. The song’s constant beat symbolizes one of a heartbeat. Their lyrics are not only well-written but are very poetic. Despite many great tracks on the album, there was one that immediately caught my attention since the very first note. “Spinning” is my favorite song from the album which surprises me. The track is more laid back and the sound isn’t what I’m used to hearing from them. But I can’t stop listening to it and enjoy it’s simplistic nature. Grouplove carries the different tone well.

The album ends with the smooth, ballad-like “Hollywood”, a track where the band lets the piano direct the tune. It’s more soothing and is quite opposite to the opening number, “Welcome to Your Life”, which has an upbeat flavor. The song reminds me of one that you would hear at the end of the show and you hear it play as the credits are rolling. Very melodic and graceful, it’s a song that makes you want to sway and nod your head along as the tune plays.

Overall, Big Mess is a beautiful mix of poetic lyrics, indie rock and pop. The album starts off a strong, upbeat tempo then slowly digresses to one that is soothing and romantic. There were some tracks on the album that weren’t my favorite due to the fact that the lyrics were layered over so much beat which hindered the listening experience. But nonetheless, this is my favorite album from them thus far. Their level of talent, writing and storytelling is one that deserves a listen. They write from a place of pure honesty and vulnerability that makes it not only enjoyable but highly relatable. Their fun and causal nature remains intact and their album reminds me why I love indie music so much.
9/10

Camille lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. You will most likely find her wandering around local bookstores, going to a concert or enjoying the sights of the city by the bay. This Captain America fangirl enjoys attending book events, re-watching her favorite Disney movies and obsessing over the latest entertainment news. You can find her on Twitter @itscamille_ann.