Almost four years after the band’s last album release, Grouplove released “Healer” on March 13, utilizing progressive production, youthful lyrics and sentimental vocals.
Grouplove, a five-member band better known for their first single, “Colours,” released 2011, and “Tongue Tied,” an anthem many people know and love, struggled to find their footing on “Healer.” Setting a high bar for their music early in their career, Grouplove’s latest album had moments of ups and downs.
“Deleter,” the album’s first track, led with an upbeat anthemic sound, using vibrant guitar riffs and heavy-hitting drums. Combining bold production with aggressively honest lyrics like, “And how we built a lighthouse // Out of all these godforsaken ruins,” this track left me excited for the rest of the album.
Similar-sounding to the band’s 2011 album, “Never Trust a Happy Song,” the album’s second track, “Inside Out,” naturally blended high-pitched synths, catchy chords and iconic Grouplove vocals. Although less lyrically driven than “Deleter,” this track felt candid with its message, “Yeah, I think I know what I’ve always failed to see // That nothin’ in this world comes at you for free.”
“Expectation,” the album’s third track, used quirky bells and xylophone layered on top of a gripping and high-pitched sound bite that I found refreshing. I loved the breathy vocals and psychedelic feel of the production.
More relaxed and slow-paced, “The Great Unknown,” the album’s fourth track, sounded similar to Weezer’s electro-pop style. Sluggish in speed, this track felt especially monotonous during its chorus, “E-I, E-I, E-I-O-O.”
“Youth,” the album’s fifth track, sounded similar to the experimental production I loved from “Expectation,” creating a lush atmosphere of sound. The lyrics, “Stay in this moment or you’ll find yourself runnin’ out of time,” amplified the track’s youthful message and tone.
“Places,” felt the most lyrically driven thus far on the album, pairing an acoustic guitar with warm-sounding vocals. The lyrics, “There’s a place we’re all runnin’ from // But we don’t know how to get there,” promoted a feeling of curiosity and wonder that I loved.
“Ahead of Myself,” the album’s eighth track, incorporated female vocals that encourage spontaneity through its lyrics, “There’ll be no worries ‘bout tomorrow.” Although I am someone who typically loves nostalgia, I found this track to be childish and cliche at times.
The album’s ninth track, “Hail to the Queen,” used woody guitar progressions paired with muffled-sounding drums, creating an overall whimsical tone. I admired the pre-chorus, “All we need is a little cooperation // I swear we can do almost anything,” as I believe this message is applicable to most relationships.
Opening with an interesting beat sample, “Burial,” the album’s tenth track, oscillated naturally between its shouting chorus and stripped-back verses. Although their vocals can be annoying at times, Grouplove’s anthemic yelling is something I now find endearing and symbolic, taking me back to the days of listening to “Tongue Tied,” the band’s hit single released Sept. 2, 2011.
“This is Everything,” immediately set itself apart from the rest of the album by utilizing its lyrics as a way to tell stories. The lyrics, “This is really more than I planned on // This is even more than I could ask for,” narrate the feeling of second guessing your worthiness for what’s come your way.
Overall, I found this album to be neither disappointing nor exciting. Selfishly, I was hoping for another standout track similar to “Tongue Tied,” and sadly didn’t find one that matched its hype. Grouplove’s use of progressive production creates a sense of confidence that they will stick around for years to come.