First Listen: Grouplove, 'Spreading Rumours'
Listen to Grouplove's Spreading Rumours streaming now via WFUV and NPR Music prior to the album's release on September 17.
Many members of the L.A. quintet Grouplove have had their bodies emblazoned with "Grouplove" tattoos, so they're nothing if not committed to the project. That full-bore, all-in approach comes through in their songs, too: Like Grouplove's ingratiating debut (2011's Never Trust a Happy Song), the new Spreading Rumours positively brims over with scrappy, happy, sinewy little earworms.
If there's a watchword for Spreading Rumours, with its dollops of Sunset Strip gregariousness and sweet boy-girl choruses, it's not so much excess as abundance: Forty-five minutes into the record, where most bands would be burying deep cuts, Grouplove is still dispensing impossibly infectious would-be hits like the unshakeable "Raspberry."
At times, the hookiness can border on overbearing; the insistent "Ways to Go" even ventures perilously close to the cloying territory once mined by Barenaked Ladies' "Two Weeks." But on balance, the candy-coated craftsmanship and joy on display throughout Spreading Rumours makes the record ludicrously easy to love — a welcome dose of summertime, just in time for fall. — Stephen Thompson