Disclaimer: I’ve only recently become a fan of Grouplove. Therefore, this is a less hands on review because I didn’t travel with Grouplove from their first and second albums to their third. So, in order to gain a more insightful opinion of the album, I asked a few friends that happen to be fans of the group.
They said a few tracks stood out to them, but unanimously thought that the album as a whole was a bit disappointing. My good friend Rachel Rubinstein said she was disappointed with the shift in the band’s overall sound. “I feel like Big Mess has a very different vibe from what they usually do. They really tried to mainstream this one.” My other good friend Lauren Carboni agreed saying,”A lot of the album sounds like it’s not their music”. Lauren has been a huge fan Grouplove since the release of their first album in 2011. She told me, “What I love so much about the band in their past albums is their uniqueness with their music but this album just doesn’t feel as ‘Grouplove’ to me”. Lauren felt as though they’d lost their sound that drew her to their music in the first place. Still fans of the band, Rachel and Lauren are hopeful the new album will grow on them with time.
Having spent less time with Grouplove as a whole, I have a different outlook on the album. I did notice a shift towards a more organic sound but I like this vibe a lot. I don’t think this album is too far from their realm, it’s just less electronic. A few songs are well within their sphere including “Welcome To your Life”, “Good Morning”, and “Don’t Stop Making It Happen”. Those tracks are very reminiscent of their usual upbeat, shouty songs. But there is a much gentler vibe with songs like “Spinning” and “Hollywood”. My biggest criticism was the the release of all of the singles before the album. I immediately liked “Welcome To Your Life” when it was released as a single in July. With each single release I was more and more excited for the full album to come out. But I don’t think Grouplove saved enough surprises for the actual album release. I know that bands do that to promote their new release but it just didn’t feel enough was left a secret. The album is only eleven songs long and four of those were released as singles prior to the album release. But overall, I really liked the contrast in this album. Big Mess strikes a good balance between songs to scream along to and unwind to. I’ll admit, some of the songs are extremely catchy and will get stuck in your head rather easily. After listening to this album, I think I’ll backtrack to their other albums and see how my opinion about Big Mess changes.
Grouplove’s 2016 tour began on September 14th in Los Angeles. I can’t wait to get my hands on tickets for their Philadelphia show.
Listen to Big Mess on Spotify.
For more information and background on Grouplove see: September Radar.
Follow me on Spotify here.