The story goes that LA-based Grouplove met in Crete, as you do, latterly forming a band and then recording a self-titled EP. Since that record’s conception, the band have signed to Canvasback/Atlantic, spread their intriguing story and garnered rather a lot of hype….. But now is now and then is then, and upon repeated listens to the EP, I can now confirm to you that this uproarious five-track collection can only ratify and amplify the buzz surrounding them. These guys are hellions ready to flatten you with their monumental music. The songs are exudations of musical turbulence, rawness reminiscent of punk rock and vocals akin to Stephen Malkmus of Pavement.
Opener ‘Colours’ is without a doubt their anthem. It explodes, clatters like a raging bull and nearly bursts our eardrums, but still manages to eschew becoming a guitar-battering warble. With its straightforward riffed rhythms that sound like they’ve been lifted off Arcade Fire’s Funeral and a manic yet uplifting chorus, in which frontman Christian Zucconi screeches “No need to be sad, it really ain’t bad”, we receive a song exposing a non-inclement setting; we can feel the summer breeze, and our gaiety at our pleasant surroundings is reflected in Zucconi’s repetitions: “I run around, round, round, round, round”, he lets out.
All five tunes present reflect their stellar songwriting, but this and their superb retrospective aesthetic really shine through on ‘Don’t Say Oh Well’ whose vociferous folk-rock style, laden with acoustic guitars, nods towards Neutral Milk Hotel at times, in what is, as a whole, a sublime 80s-tinged folk jam.
The EP subsequently meanders into a superb finale, by way of ‘Getaway Car’, in which the jocularly melancholic tone still emanates positive messages of hope: ‘I don’t need to break your heart, so we’ll get away, in this getaway car’, they sing, before the ballad fades out with an obligatory ‘doo-da-da-doo’ refrain. Although this ending is seemingly rather abrupt, I believe this is a good thing; they have enticed us in. For what it is (a debut EP), this is a glorious representation of what is hopefully to come later. Album of 2011, anyone?
From Huw Oliver.