After the release of the fabulously infectious and riotously enthusiastic joy filled 'Colours' EP, Grouplove have released their debut album 'Never Trust A Happy Song'. Of the six songs they treated us to previously only two make the cut onto their first album. 'Never Trust A Happy Song' thankfully carries on down the same stream of unadulterated palpable pleasure that the band seem effortlessly to convey through each of their songs. If Grouplove never make another record ever they would still be able to release a greatest hits album at some point in the future, their material to date is that good. Whilst I'm not a big fan of the phrase I can think of no more apt description to sum up 'Never Trust A Happy Song'.............."It's all killer, no filler".
The five members of Grouplove may have the blue blood of rock royalty pulsating through some of their veins but that can only account for a fraction of how their collective creativeness has manifested itself in the material. Without going into the extremes of teen pop wonders the world over I'm at a loss to think of another band that can clearly make you believe in how much energy and fun they put into each song. It's like you're hearing the musical equivalent of seeing The Monkey's in one of their manic moments. You can't fail to be lifted by this record, it's the sound of the summer that'll take you through the winter!
The June single 'Itchin' On A Photograph' is a fine way to start any album. Handclaps, of which there are many on NTAHS, introduce the track gradually as more components are eased in. The guitar and keyboards break down before the bass drum kicks in and the power builds until the heady chorus cascades out. The delicate piano is equally at home with the anthemic and poetically tortured vocals. 'Tongue Tied' changes the pace and immediately puts you in party mood as the carnival to carousel jollity pumps along. The bands latest offering 'Lovely Cup' is up next. The reggae infused tones of the bass beat and more sun soaked rhythms let the spirit of youthful exuberance and carefree abandon burst through......"You're such a lovely cup, why don't you fill me up?" The title track of their EP, 'Colours', rounds off the first third of the album. Within four songs the music has been maintained to the highest quality. All have been powerful Indie Pop gems, different in their own way but held together by the cohesion of the band and their seemingly undiminished quest for musical excellence.
'Slow' gives Hannah her first chance to shine individually as her vocals are brought to the fore playing the lead in this more reflective piece. Next, the road trip to beach romp of 'Naked Kids' sets us up perfectly for the toe tapping, jump and grind of 'Spun'. By now if you've resisted the urge, you'll be able to no longer. If you're of the opinion that's it's uncool to outwardly show your pleasure for fear of mockery then cast aside all stupidity and let your inner self go. You can't not chew a pastel in the end and you can't go without licking your lips whilst eating a donut. Well 'Spun', and pretty much all of NTAHS, is the musical version and you won't be able to contain yourself.
You can draw a breath as 'Betty's A Bombshell' slows the pace with some beautiful dueted harmonies souring over the jangle of guitars. Seventies Glam Rock gets a nod in the thumping 'Chloe' before 'Love Will Save Your Soul' employees the use of some fine Johnny Marr like guitar licks. 'Cruel And Beautiful World' then initially pairs things right back to a banjo and subdued vocal duet that occasionally explodes out into its chorus before the romanticism and realism of the close out track 'Close Your Eyes And Count To Ten'.
Never Trust A Happy Song is a great debut album from Grouplove. Each of the twelve tracks is brilliantly crafted and shows off the individuality of the band wonderfully well. It may be ten degrees outside with the promise of snow forecast but stick this on and you'll be in flip-flops and a Hawaiian shirt before you know it. It'll warm your heart and cheer your soul.