With sold out tours, a successful debut album and an RIAA-certified platinum hit single called “Tongue Tied”, Los Angeles indie/alternative band Grouplove has had an extremely exciting two years. But with great musical success comes the need for more, and the fans definitely wanted more. Apart from the fact that their sophomore album was set to be released on September 17 and that their current single, “Ways to Go”, was doing splendidly on the radio, it was relatively quiet news-wise. Well the wait is over and the long-awaited Spreading Rumours is finally here for the world to hear.
The album begins strongly with the ear-stimulating “I’m With You”, in which there are stages of different instruments and tempos as if telling the history of how music has changed over time. “Bitin’ the Bullet” channels an indie version of Karmin with its hip-hop-like tempo and heavy piano, “Hippy Hill” gives you the chills (like being in a dark, creepy forest type chills), “Borderlines and Aliens” straight up makes you feel like you’re in Super Mario Bros, while “Shark Attack” gives off a beach-rock vibe. “Schoolboy”, “What I Know” and “Raspberry” would have fit in perfectly on Never Trust a Happy Song (they literally could have been made into bonus tracks) while “News to Me” could easily be the continuation of “Itchin’ on a Photograph”.
“Sit Still” (a peppy duet in which we hear some cursing) and “Didn’t Have to Go” (a more upbeat version of “Slow” in which the band’s female vocalist, Hannah Hooper, is showcased in such an emotional way that you can hear her love and her heartbreak at the same time) are by far two of the best songs on the album.”Save the Party for Me” is the perfect song to wrap up Spreading Rumours because it gives the listeners a peaceful, camp-y feel with the beautiful, haunting harmony of Hooper and Christian Zucconi’s voices while reminding us of “Cruel and Beautiful World”.
I’ve got to admit, I was a little worried about whether Grouplove was starting to veer in a completely different sound direction when they released “Ways to Go” as their first single. Fortunately, they kept the musical transitioning to a minimum and stuck with their original sound from Never Trust a Happy Song. Am I glad that they chose to keep their style? Absolutely! But the new poppy instrumentation incorporated in the first few songs definitely gives Spreading Rumours a growing-up kind of feel (in a good way) while still remembering their roots.