Monday, 20 January 2014

Feature - Grouplove

Published in the Shortlist section of the Sydney Morning Herald, Friday January 17.

Feeling The Love

The rise of US indie rockers Grouplove has been swift, almost without parallel. Meeting and forming a strong musical bond at an artist’s retreat in Greece in 2009, the five members came together properly a year later, and within 12 months, had recorded their eponymous debut EP, toured with Florence & The Machine, and graced festival stages from Glastonbury to Lollapalooza.

With the release of debut LP Never Trust A Happy Song in mid-2011, they proved it was no fluke, continuing to tour the world attracting glowing praise and an ever-growing following for their intricately layered, yet rambunctiously delivered, pop-inflected rock ‘n’ roll tunes. Here was a band which had appeared and exploded almost overnight, which funnily enough, didn’t come as that much of a surprise to the members themselves.

“In a way, it didn’t,” concurs guitarist Andrew Wessen thoughtfully. “All of us, aside from Hannah (Hooper, vocals), had been in bands for years. It’s like when people say, ‘Oh, it only took you ten minutes to write that song’, but you’re like, ‘No, it actually took my whole life to write that song’. Because, you know, it took me going through everything and writing ten thousand songs before this, to get that hook or whatever.

“And it’s the same idea with the band; everything happened really quickly for us as Grouplove… but it was a struggle in the years leading up to this, we’ve been doing this since we were teenagers. [So] in a way it feels well deserved.”

Not ones to take things for granted, Grouplove released, late last year, their second LP, Spreading Rumours, a record which has seen them more than comfortably justify the almost rabid expectation from fans and media alike. “I basically think that a Grouplove record is a representation of five very different people who are influenced by a lot of different music,” opines Wessen.

“And so I feel like the tangents we go on are intensified, I think the record is a lot heavier,” he goes on, regarding the evolution in sound exhibited on Spreading Rumours. “It’s more cohesive, more live, and I think we felt more of a confidence in the studio than we did on the first record.

“For that record, we did it in Ryan’s (Rabin, drummer and producer) apartment and had to go in one by one, because we didn’t have the means to do actual live recording. This time though, we were able to do that. I think that’s the biggest difference.”

Spreading Rumours does indeed have a very concentrated live sound, it resonates with the chemistry the five found within each other only a few years ago, and shows beyond a doubt they’ve got the capability to continually improve and evolve. And, of course, they’re not done yet. “Yeah, the b-sides to [Spreading Rumours] alone could be another album,” laughs Wessen on their proclivity to write.

Elsewhere, the band have contributed a track to the recently released Spirit Of Akasha soundtrack, ‘Dancing On A Daydream’. “To be a part of [that] is beyond an honour, it’s a dream come true,” smiles Wessen, himself a surfing freak and huge fan of Morning Of The Earth, from which Akasha follows. Grouplove’s run thus far has been a dream come true, and they’re not likely to wake just yet.

Samuel J. Fell

Gig: Metro Theatre, January 25 (with CSS) / Big Day Out, January 26
Live: Heavily layered psychedelic pop-rock
Best Track: ‘Drifting On A Daydream’ from Spirit Of Akasha

No comments:

Post a Comment