We’ve all heard the song on the Apple iPod Touch television commercial, you know, the one that goes “Take me to your best friend’s house…” Well, there is more than meets the ear. The band featured in that commercial is Grouplove. Grouplove is a band formed in 2009 with Christian Zucconi on lead vocals and guitar, Hannah Hooper on vocals and keyboards, Andrew Wessen on guitars and vocals, Ryan Rabin on drums and Sean Gadd on bass.
Their first studio album Never Trust a Happy Song was released in September 2011, and is still relatively unknown. This album serves as a pick-me-up whenever you may need one due to its pop-ish, yet indie rock elements.
It begins with “Itchin’ On a Photograph,” one of the better songs on the album. It is very poppy with heavy indie rock undertones. Christian Zucconi’s voice is unlike any other, the only singer I can even compare him to is maybe Brandon Boyd of Incubus, but he most definitely has his own unique, individual sound that evokes chills. In this song and others on the album, Zucconi and Hooper sing in unison for the chorus, sending the listener resplendent male and female harmonies.
The second track is the one from the commercial: “Tounge Tied,” that marvelous party anthem, screaming pop music, especially when Hooper has her solo verse. The distinct rock guitar sound, however, is always present giving the whole thing that definite pop rock air.
“Lovely Cup”, the third track is a love song like any other, except that it seems to revolve very much around the guitar.
Next, “Colours” is one of those mood-enhancers which immediately makes it my personal favorite on the album. The sound of the guitar, the words sung, both alone and in unison and the overall feeling of freedom throughout make it a masterpiece, the great magnum opus of the album.
Track five brought upon a completely different sound, separate from the rest. In “Slow,” Hannah Hopper sings alone throughout the entirety of the song, and it is simply Pop music, the kind of stuff Katy Perry or Lady Gaga might do. Truth be told, when I listen to this album in the car, I usually skip this track. I could only make myself listen to it once in its entirety and that was strictly to write this with the purest journalistic integrity and a full opinion based on truth.
“Naked Kids” and “Spun” bring back the better side of the band, proving they might be someone worth remembering. These tunes are more laid back, yet fast-paced and simply fun and even a bit witty.
“Betty’s a bombshell” carries you along its melodic wave. Then, “Chloe” surprises with an edge of punk and a hint of The Brady Brunch, a strange combination, but its erratic pattern is entrancing.
Hannah Hopper takes the lead again in “Love will Save your Soul.” Luckily, this track was much better than her other solo track. It actually had an intriguing, novel approach but was still one of the worst on the album.
At first, “Cruel and Beautiful World” sounds sad and a bit pathetic, but when least expected the chorus picks it up and saves the song from impending doom.
The last track, “Close your Eyes and Count to Ten” also combines unexpected sounds to provide for an interesting listen. At moments, this song sounds very ‘60s Mama’s and the Papa’s, and then Nirvana-esqe at others. It is a loop of combinations of sounds from varying influences.
In essence, Grouplove’s Never Trust a Happy Song is an album worth checking out. Christian Zucconi’s voice is amazingly individual. Hannah Hooper, though a pretty voice, is disappointing when compared to Zucconi, but this album is always uplifting. If nothing else, next time you feel down, listen to Never Trust a Happy Song and I promise there’s “No need to be sad. It really ain’t that bad.”