Grouplove have decided to keep things short and sweet with their debut, a self-titled six song EP, and it’s easy to see why. They’re having too much fun to care about whether anyone likes them.
Sounding like Modest Mouse‘s happy clappy cousins, the LA/NY/LDN natives are full of the joys of summer, albeit the kind of summer that only happens in American surf films. Not for them a picnic of scotch eggs in Hyde Park. These guys are all about ordering lobsters and downing black label, riding to the beach with your top down, holding hands with pretty girls and getting giddy. Their ethos is perhaps best summed up on Naked Kids with the lines “Naked kids, running wild, and free/ It’s summer time fun, relax and stay young.”
There’s nothing to worry about here, nothing except the moment. And the moment is being filled with Beach Boys harmonising, twinkly guitar and so much joie de vivre that you can’t help but wish you lived in California. Unless, of course, you do. As you listen you can imagine people doing cartwheels along the sand, and it’s hard not to raise a smile, especially when the band seem to be imploring you to be their friend in every song. Come and join us! they shout. The water’s warm!
One of the true joys of the record is its delivery, courtesy of singer Christian Zucconi’s whining, sloth-like drawl, which envelops proceedings in a hazy cloud. He sounds like he’s just dragged himself in from the beach to lay down some tracks, or been recently woken from an all night bender, and this separates the record from any sort of tweeness it might be in danger of possessing. Grouplove manage to keep it cool by having a slight sneer to their music, like the aforementioned Modest Mouse, and Zucconi’s delivery even evokes the doyen of indie Conor Oberst, lending their cutesy jingly rhythms an automatic street cred.
The only moment of darkness comes halfway through with Gold Coast, which has a more industrial clanky sound and features lyrics designed to sober up any party going youngster. As the band suddenly start biting their nails, worrying about finding peace of mind and what’s going to happen in the future, you long to tell them that there will be plenty of time for all that, and they better get back to the surf because it’s totally going down at the beach house.
Thankfully by the time Getaway Car comes lollops along, the guys have realised that dealing with problems is for pussies and that the best thing to do when life gives you lemons is not to make lemonade, but to take a road trip with people you love. Oh, and get so mashed up that you don’t even notice the mistakes you’re making. After all, when the sun’s hot and jumbo jets are flying over hard, life can’t be so bad.