Never Trust a Happy Song
It has been just over one month since Grouplove released there debut album Never Trust a Happy Song, and finally, I am on board. The 2010 self-titled EP was given to me a while ago, but every once in a while, in these modern times of unyielding amounts of music coming at you in every direction, an EP or an album can get overlooked on an iPod that is flooded with a plethora of other new music, whether or not that music is more or less superior. Luckily NPR, as per usual (just to avoid any political offenses, I am referring to NPR Music. I don’t want to make a whole “thing” out of this) … as I was saying, NPR, as per usual had my back and prompted a quick listen to Grouplove when they were featured on their wonderful Tiny Desk Concerts podcast. They had also written a little blip about Grouplove, mentioning comparisons between lead singer Christian Zucconi and Kurt Cobain. No more time was wasted from here. I immediately immersed myself in Grouplove. And no, that last statement was not a Tobias Funke quote, it’s just what happened dammit. After watching the ‘cast, I quickly flipped on that EP, then immediately got my hands on the very album I am writing about today, the aptly named, Never Trust a Happy Song.
^Grouplove on NPR … DO NOT GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH THE WORD GROUPLOVE
I say aptly named, because I feel like the fun and poppy vibe this album exudes a times, is almost a little misleading. Not that you won’t have fun getting caught up and bouncing to the bright, boppy tunes these guys throw at you, you most certainly will. But if you also get caught up in the lyrics a bit, you may realize that Grouplove has some “daddy issues” … or some type of issues anyways.
The album opens with “Itchin’ on a Photograph”, which is a great introduction to Grouplove, and essentially sums up my opinion on the rest of the album. It starts off strong, sounds very intriguing, begins to let you down right around the first chorus when you can’t tell what early ’00 emo band just walked in the door. But just as it seems like they have taken a turn for douche, Christian begins straining his voice and the track gets right back on … well, I was going to say track … yea, I’ll stick with that … the track gets right back on track.
The next two songs are among the funnest and catchiest on the album, which then leads you into the single “Colours”. A dark song, that twists the vocal sounds of Meat Puppets with the pop of Modest Mouse. I feel like this is where the Kurt Cobain reference comes into play.
^My friend produced this video … she also DID NOT hire me to work on it. Thanks Sloane!
I don’t disagree with the comparison to Kurt Cobain, but I think that it can certainly be misunderstood. I feel like you would compare Christian to Kurt just as you would compare Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse) to Kurt. Or maybe the same way you would compare Kurt to Curt Kirkwood (Meat Puppets). It’s not that he necessarily sounds similar, it is more that he uses his voice very aggressively and in a very raw form that ultimately provides vocals to some of the best tracks on the album.
Sporadically after “Colours” the album can briefly take on different directions. Other band members step up and take over the lead, which ultimately becomes uninteresting and can pull the listener out of the album. But whenever Christian steps back in, my attention comes right back.
I feel like it’d be hard not to a least like certain parts of this album, no matter your taste. To me the best band to compare them to would be The Pixies. Lot’s of fun and poppy tracks, balanced with some off kilter avant-garde ones that make for a great balance, and a fun, intelligent album.
Can’t Miss: “Tongue Tied”, “Lovely Cup”, “Colours”, “Cruel and Beautiful World”
Can’t Hit: “Spun”, “Chloe”