Album Review: This Is This by Grouplove

Grouplove is an alternative rock band from California. You may have seen the review of Healer, which actually came out a year ago. Grouplove surprised nearly everyone with this release since they usually wait awhile before releasing new music. While this is only nine tracks long, they really put the high energy tracks onto this album. This Is This marks the bands’ fifth studio album.

The first track from the album is Primetime. I was definitely not expecting the album to start out this way, especially with what we received on Healer. At least this track made me excited for a Grouplove album again. You have the riffing classic guitar sound that reminds me of some of their heavier and more exciting pieces in the past. The real action comes towards the middle with the different effects with the guitars. Other than that, it’s pretty simplistic lyrically since they mostly repeat the line, “It’s primetime, baby.”

This Is The End brings back the energizing and exciting classic rock guitar sounds. Also, Hannah’s vocals seem a little more rough around the edges compared to what we heard on Healer, so I’m enjoying this sound a lot more. I also enjoy how they keep their repetitive and playful lyrics, but still able to make it sound more rock-ish than their usual pop sound. Another solid track added to the album to make this sound that much better.

Deadline was definitely not a track I was expecting after the previous two tracks. If I had to categorize this track, it’s a mix between MGMT and Mickey by Toni Basil. The MGMT inspiration definitely come out when Christian comes in with the colorful synths and the Mickey inspiration comes in afterwards when Hannah comes in. Other than that, I’m surprised this has become another quick favorite of mine. While I didn’t hate this track on the first listen, this has just grown on me tremendously after each listen. The laughter at the ending is quite odd, but that could have to do with the absurdity of some of the lyrics.

Scratch finally brings back some of the original sounds that most Grouplove fans are used to hearing. With the wailing guitars at the beginning and exciting group vocals during the chorus. While it is exciting, it’s probably not in my list of favorites. It’s not a bad track and I do recommend it for Grouplove fans and new fans alike, but there’s just something about the first three tracks that draw me to those more. Also, the quieter bridge towards the end definitely throws me off.

Oxygen Swimming was definitely a grower, not a shower. What I mean by that is that it definitely took time to grow on me. I’m usually not a fan of slower tracks, unless a band is known for that. Grouplove, definitely isn’t known for their slow and quiet tracks, which is completely opposite of what they have shown on this album so far. This track seems to reminisce about a past relationship, however, it seemed to end in an unfortunate way.

The album speeds back up with Just What You Want and has a featured artist, Dani Miller. She definitely fits in well on this track since her style matches what Grouplove has been showing on this album so far. This is definitely an angsty track since we’re getting some somewhat rebellious lyrics that are thrown on here. Again, they seem to slow it down during the bridge and add some more serious parts to the track.

Seagulls features some more rock inspired guitar riffs, and we do get some more yelling/screaming parts from Hannah on this one, which could be reminiscent of some metal bands from the 90s. This is also the shortest track on the album, which is just over three minutes in length. There’s just something about this track that isn’t clicking with me. It’s not bad and I do love the intensity they have put on this album, but it doesn’t mix together with some of the previous tracks.

After that, we come to an interesting titled track Shake That *ss. It started out the exact opposite of what I expected. With a track name like that, I would have expected a club type R&B or hip hop beat, but it’s definitely one of their more toned down tracks on the album. They talk about the track title while shaking it on camera, which could be a reference to cam girls or even the rising popularity of OnlyFans.

The final track we have on this somewhat short album is Shout, which is also the longest track on the album, which is nearly six minutes in length. The track starts out with the quiet arpeggios from the guitar, but after half a minute, the real action from the bass comes in. Then we get even more action around the minute mark where the instrumentals really start to come out and shine. Lyrically, it seems like this person is in pain and they just want to tell them to shout it out since they aren’t alone with their problem.

While there were some duds of tracks towards the end of the album, this was the first project that I was excited to hear from Grouplove in some time. I didn’t really care for Healer or their previous album, so to hear something this rejuvenating was exciting.

Overall Rating: 9/10

Favorite Tracks: Primetime, This Is The End, Deadline, Oxygen Swimming, Shout

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