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Grouplove releases new EP “Little Mess”

When compared to the band’s previous studio albums, the latest EP comes up a little short.

Jason Enns, Arts & Life Editor

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Diehard Grouplove fans have probably already been listening to their new EP “Little Mess” for a couple weeks now. Not that I’m a half-hearted fan, I just haven’t paid for a new album in about three years.

“Little Mess,” the EP attached to Grouplove’s latest LP “Big Mess,” was released on April 22. However, when you’ve reached the level of success Grouplove has, you don’t hype up a new album just to immediately distribute it for free in places like SoundCloud and YouTube.

However, for us cheapskates, the day has finally come. The official Grouplove YouTube channel posted the five new tracks on May 5.

As a huge fan of this band, I have to say that the EP is good — but it is not their best. One of the great aspects of Grouplove’s distinct sound is their ability to combine authentic, hard-hitting rock with an indie pop style, at times mixing in use of synthesizers and electric drums.

The appeal for me has often been the impeccable energy in their songs. In each album they’ve released, there has always been at least one song that makes me want to jump around and scream; to dance like no one’s watching, and sing like no one’s listening. That energy has been present in each of their three studio albums, but is less present in their debut self-titled EP in 2011.

For that reason, I suppose the sound in “Little Mess” is an accurate cumulation of their full stylistic journey as a band. Much of it is melancholy both lyrically and musically.

The album begins with “Tell Me a Story,” a song that sounds like Cary Brothers’ “Blue Eyes,” or any other song from the Garden State soundtrack, really. It does eventually build into a much heavier, but slow-tempoed finish, giving them even more of a progressive rock feel then we’ve previously heard from them.

This is consistent with track four which is a live recording of “Enlighten Me,” a popular song from “Big Mess.” However, they are only full band for the last minute of the five and a half minute song, and the rest is just frontman Christian Zucconi on an acoustic. For me, the problem reverting to this style is the fact that Zucconi’s crackly, high-pitched voice is best suited for high-energy, full-voice screams, not this delicate acoustic stuff.

Tracks two and three, “Torso” and “MRI” we get more of the slow-tempoed, yet heavy genre that I can best describe as ballad rock.

We don’t get any of that groovy, poppy, make-you-want-to-dance music until the final song “Adios Amigos.” This track is the only one I could see circulating the radio, but it doesn’t quite compare to their songs that have gained mainstream popularity in the past.

I know it may seem like really didn’t enjoy this EP, but I did, I’m just putting out some constructive criticism. If we are not critical, we are just complacent.

In conclusion, I predict “Little Mess” will remain just that — little, never quite gaining the traction of Grouplove’s previous albums.

 

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