For anyone struggling with the question, does fate exist, try this one: Girl 1, having been living in New York all her life, bumps into Boy 1 on the lower east side of Manhattan. A few days later, Girl 1 receives an invitation from an art residency in Greece, and the ‘magical and natural thing to do’ was to invite Boy 1. Up the top of a mountain in Crete, Boy 2, a songwriter from London, surfer dudes from Boy 3 and Boy 4 start to jam with the now inseparable pair. But, just like in Grease, the summer ends and disaster strikes, everyone scattering back to London, LA, and New York, and real life. But it’s all about the music, man, and by pooling their funds, everyone moves to LA to live and love the creativity together, culminating in the seven tracks on this debut EP. Substitute Girl 1 and Boys 2-4 for Hannah, Christian, Sean, Andrew and Ryan, (respectively) call this quintent Grouplove, and you have the story of five strangers who became family.
Ultimately though, serendipity sounds shit without a melody. Which is where Grouplove deliver. ‘Colours’ is a fractured mix of emotions, Christian’s liquorice like vocals neatly connecting the pulsing drum and guitars. The standout track, which on an EP of wows is no light accolade. Heady and hearty looping choruses, rasping matter of fact lyrics and unswervingly brilliant instrumental waves result in the kind of nice electric shock that comes from licking a battery.
Hints of MGMT combined with Vampire Weekend ensure that ‘Naked Kids’ will appear on the fashion radar, but its real reason for getting the spotlight should be the way it powerfully propels along with a knowing raise of the eyebrow, whilst caressing the soul and raising a smile through lyrical references to every day life and the desire for happiness ‘lobsters and black label, raise your glasses, here’s to living out our dreams.’
‘Gold Coast’ is a cruising quest of a song that fluctuates in volume and anger like a teenager’s hormones, but always staying as intense, the closing ‘ohhhh ohhhh yeah-eh’s sure to be the call to encore that audiences across the UK on this February’s tour will be chanting. A number of disparate elements, Grouplove have achieved that rare feat of feeling that fractured, but just real.
Soft chanting from Hannah on ‘Getaway Car’ reinjects a soft side to what can seem like a bombardment of hard emotions, the gentle grating of the guitar at a tad slower tempo creating a chugging twist of a tune, whereas ‘Don’t Say Oh Well’ wouldn’t sound out of place in a fifties dance hall or a West Coast bar, such as it captured the dizzy cocktail of being, the fun ferocity followed by the sunset comedown of ‘Giddy.’
Direct and impassioned, with no gimmicks, just a lot of talent and an ear for a good tune this is vital and visceral stuff. Now you just need to get over the embarrassment of asking people ‘do you like grouplove?’, ‘shall we see grouplove?’, ‘don’t you just love the sound of grouplove?’