Grouplove – Spreading Rumours

Not a lot on ‘Spreading Rumours’ makes sense.

Label: Atlantic

Rating:

Being in Grouplove must be a whole heap of fun. There’s not a moment during this second full-length, ‘Spreading Rumours’, that doesn’t ooze the kind of enthusiasm that isn’t limited to just the LA-based band’s own five members, but that they want everyone listening to take part in, too. The music is largely euphoric throughout, and the quintet, whether lead by Hannah Hooper or Christian Zucconi on lead vocal duties, make much use of the kind of cacophony perfected by the pre-James Murphy Arcade Fire.

But unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot other to be so gleeful about. References that would make brilliant sense in youthful pop-punk (“we fell asleep to ‘Nevermind’”, goes ‘Sit Still’) sound stilted, forced almost – especially when the verses of ‘Borderlines And Aliens’ steal so much from ‘All Apologies’. Equally, the guitar sounds borrowed so faithfully from Pixies (notably ‘Schoolboy’ and ‘Raspberry’) jar when paired with synth noises that almost parody 2013’s radio-friendly output. And then there’s the excruciating ‘Bitin’ The Bullet’, an attempt at hip-hop sounding so much like it belongs nowhere outside 90s kids’ TV that even after repeated single listens it’s impossible to work out whether they mean it or not.

In short, not a lot on ‘Spreading Rumours’ makes sense. It doesn’t match, even in its apparent desperate attempt to sound like the bargain bin of an Urban Outfitters. At least Grouplove sound like they’re enjoying it.