Grouplove – Healer Review
By: Bea Willis
GROUPLOVE formed in the summer of 2009, and since then, the Los Angeles based five-piece has been creating catchy alternative rock songs that are incredibly happy. Hannah Hooper met Christian Zucconi late one evening on the lower east side of Manhattan. When Hooper was invited to an art residency in Greece on the island of Crete, she invited Zucconi to join her on this journey. “Seriously, we had only known one another for a few days but are both so inspired and alive when we are together that going to Greece seemed like a magical and natural thing to do,” recalls Zucconi. Once there, Hooper and Zucconi met Sean Gadd, a London based songwriter, and guitar player. Their relationship became apparent through the music they were making day in and day out. Andrew Wessen, a pro surfer and musician from Los Angeles and his childhood friend Ryan Rabin, an accomplished drummer and producer, were also at the residency and quickly joined in with the musical trio. These five musicians make up the members of what we now know as GROUPLOVE. They are releasing their fourth studio album, Healer, which the band says is a re-birth and a full-circle return to their initial idealism.
“Inside Out” has a happy beat and hip bassline that leads to Zucconi singing the melody. The verse is catchy, and the chorus has full vocal harmonies. The feel of the verse and chorus are both different, with the chorus sounding fuller and broader. The bridge is an excellent breakdown moment that builds again with vocal harmonies and interesting drumming. This song is GROUPLOVE at their best, the melody is catchy, and the orchestration is always varied and evolving.
“Hail to the Queen” has a quick undercurrent and rolling drum pattern that captures the California mood perfectly. The melody has a wide range, and this might be the standout of the eleven songs. The chorus makes exciting turns and twists. The band has always been about creating textures, and “Hail to the Queen” has plenty of vocal textures and instrumental layers. The songwriting is in top form, from the pre-chorus vocal counterpoint to the catchy chorus melody, this one will stick with your ears for days.
Healer is eleven songs that have a wide variety of feels, influence, and emotions. Grouplove’s first two albums really stuck with the fans, and getting past those two pinnacles will be hard. Does Healer do it? Well, yes and no. There are some great songs, and then there are some songs that are, well, different. Healer might be the band evolving, and some fans will still be holding on to the past on some tracks. However, there are absolutely some gems that fans will eagerly accept.
Release Date: March 13, 2020