by Marty Gatto
Grouplove’s Big Mess is an interesting album to follow the hippy-inspired indie rock artist’s previous album, Spreading Rumors, released three years ago. Up to this point, Grouplove has been an eye-catching act because of how different they are from the status quo, and because of how they use that difference to make fun, nonchalant, and exciting music. Big Mess lives up to this reputation in some respects, but it does skimp on uniqueness of sound in many tracks, which is what makes or breaks Grouplove’s music.
The album starts off with one of its best tracks, “Welcome To Your Life.” It’s a casual, colorful song that includes a nice beat accompanied by good releases of guitar strums and a catchy, calm chorus. “Welcome To Your Life” is a good intro, since it encompasses many of the techniques the album goes on to utilize.
Many cliché sounding, rather bland songs or parts of songs are riddled throughout the album, and the second track, “Do You Love Someone,” is a perfect example of this, given that it is crisper but blander than the previous track. It sounds like the type of song you’d hear during a commercial for sunscreen.
Big Mess has its hidden treasures, however, such as the catchy rhythms in “Enlighten Me,” or the song “Good Morning,” which is reminiscent of the “Macarena” for its quickly flowing wordy chorus, or the raw attitude in “Traumatized.” Ultimately, though, Big Mess is not what I would call a perfect successor to the Grouplove legacy, because when a track isn’t cliché, it embraces a tone that is, in most cases, too cold for Grouplove’s style, which generally flourishes in what is fun and fizzles in what is dark.