As the world slowly descends into madness, there is no better time to pop the headphones on and blast some new music from Grouplove to drown out the white noise of panic buying and virus conversations.
The Los Angeles natives have returned with Healer, their third LP, after 2016’s acclaimed, Big Mess. Recorded in El Paso with producer Dave Sitek and in Los Angeles with Malay, Healer is a forty-five-minute alt-pop escape from the negativity of current world events.
The album’s first single, Deleter, is classic Grouplove. It is a high energy, guitar and drum-heavy ball of positivity with a catchy chorus that is sure to become a staple of their live shows. Inside Out, while not as up-beat, is equally as polished. Christian Zucconi’s vocals suit the ebbs and flows of the song’s tempo and allow the lyrics to stand out above anything else.
Expectations successfully experiments with an unusual collaboration of sounds that are complemented by Hannah Hooper’s vocals to produce a cute five-minute love song. The Great Unknown is a unassuming and uncomplicated pop song while Youth captures a smooth, commercial sound that is begging for radio airplay.
From this point, Healer dips into a low key chasm of mediocrity with Places. Zucconi sings, ‘There’s a place we’re all runnin’ from/ But we don’t know how to get there’ and I think it is this song, unfortunately. Promises, on the other hand, brings the album back on track with another typical Grouplove pop chorus, but only briefly. Ahead of Myself, despite its overt musical and lyrical vulnerability, is a lacklustre inclusion.
Hail to the Queen injects some well-needed life back into the album before Burial, a personal highlight, is introduced. Burial capitalises on Zucconi’s vocals (think Itchin’ on a Photograph from 2011’s Never Trust a Happy Song) while simultaneously playing with contrasting sounds and tempos of intensity. This is Everything wraps up the album on a tender yet robust note.
Overall, Healer is a mixed bag. Despite a couple of dips into averageness, there were far more highlights and reminders of how sensational Grouplove are capable of being. It is a welcome relief in the current climate we are living in.
Album Review By Anita Kertes