Grouplove, ‘Spreading Rumours’

“Spreading Rumours” gets four out of five stars.

Parker Munson, Writer

There’s nothing normal about Grouplove. From their mismatched look to their unmatched sound, they’re almost annoyingly original. In their latest music video for “Ways To Go” — from their new album, “Spreading Rumours” — the band performs the song under pressure from a communist regime headed by a kid who really likes to party. The whole time the band is so dramatic that it borders on coming off as contrived.

Even when not acting on set, their live performances — especially when they were surrounded by cardboard cutouts of themselves, like on Conan last year — are equally strained. However, you really couldn’t expect anything other than absolute childlike abandon and creativity from a group of artists who formed a band after meeting on an artist commune in Greece. Grouplove exists to have fun, as evidenced even in their name.

When Grouplove released “Never Trust A Happy Song” in 2011, the band was met with almost instantaneous success as their singles rapidly climbed the charts and earned their way onto popular radio stations nationwide. “Tongue Tied,” their most radio-ready single, is a blow-the-roof-off-this-party jam, complete with the perfect combination of cheering, making out and rapping about slumber parties. In contrast, “Colours,” another popular single from their 2011 release, had an entirely different spin on it, landing it further in the rock category with a lot less pop-y synth and a bunch more yelling.

This diversity is arguably both their strongpoint and their greatest weakness. On one hand, it has fans skipping around the album to find the songs that cater most to what they want to hear instead of creating a lucid listening experience. On the other hand, it shows that the band is out to write songs they love, no matter what category they might fit into. The second time around, the band seems to have settled a little more on a cohesive sound that finds a happy medium between eclectic and tasteful.

A sophomore release is always revealing of an artist’s true talent. It’s where they prove whether or not they just got lucky with the first one. Grouplove definitely shows they can hold their own with “Spreading Rumours.” The album is full of radio-worthy tracks such as the coming-of-age single, “Ways To Go,” that’s sure to have party-goers raising a Solo cup or two in true “YOLO” fashion. Tracks like “I’m With You” and “Shark Attack” are equally fun and sure to be hits. But what really makes this album stand out from what the band has done in the past is its blending of youthful tracks with shockingly mature ones. For instance, tracks like “Raspberry” and “Sit Still” call to mind influences such as Pixies or The Flaming Lips. And even though Grouplove has a lot more to prove before they earn the same legendary status as their influences, they’re not too far off the path to make it inconceivable.


It might be relatively easy to pinpoint Grouplove’s influences, but it’s difficult to make the broad assertion that Grouplove sounds like so-and-so. Vocalist and keyboardist Hannah Hooper explained this concept to Elle Magazine by saying: “I feel like a lot of [bands] plateau because they get stuck in a niche. We are not that band. If we have an idea we're gonna try it out."

And it’s true — Grouplove is not afraid to set an unabashedly bright pop song next to a dark and gritty rock anthem, which is precisely what makes them unique.

Grouplove balances pop and indie in a way that so few bands know how to manage these days. And they more than pull it off — they completely own it. They’re fun in a way that is not shallow and mature in a way that is not pretentious. “Spreading Rumours” is a sign of great things to come from this ambitious quintet — and that’s the naked truth.

Grouplove is currently on tour in the U.S. with most of its shows sold out. You can learn more and keep up with the band on their website:

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