By Julie Park, September 20 2016 —
After going on hiatus following the release of their sophomore album in 2013, Grouplove has re-emerged in the music scene with their much-anticipated third studio album, Big Mess.
The album comes on the heels of a new addition to the Grouplove family with the birth of lead vocalists Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi’s baby girl in 2015. Hooper and Zucconi’s recent transition into parenthood is reflected throughout the album, as Big Mess toys with the familiarity of the group’s old sound with an added maturity.
The album opens with “Welcome to your Life,” a track that embodies Grouplove’s classic sound. The upbeat, anthemic hook is instantly familiar to anyone who has heard the band’s music before.
The following songs don’t stray much from the expected indie-pop formula, remaining fun and casual.
The album slows down with the more sombre and contemplative “Enlighten Me.” This track stands out immediately, demonstrating the musical growth the band has undergone. The track flirts with simplicity, stripping back much of the pomp and circumstance that surrounds the group’s other standout hits.
Tracks like “Cannonball,” “Traumatized” and “Heart of Mine” continue to inject more alternative-rock elements into the album, adding variation to the band’s familiar indie-pop vibe.
Big Mess is exactly what it claims to be — a big mess. The album is from a band that is in transition, with certain songs remaining similar to old hits and others branching out into a more mature style.
Though the band plays with their sound throughout Big Mess, the seamless blend of Zucconi and Hooper’s voices remains constant. Along with the ever-present folk guitar and synth, the unique sound Grouplove is known for remains intact. Although at times all over the place, Big Mess is a promising idea of what is yet to come for the group.