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Album Review: Healer by Grouplove

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Grouplove is an American indie rock band based out of Los Angeles. Ever since their debut record, Never Trust a Happy Song, they have garnered success. Several of their tracks have appeared in video games, television shows, commercials, and more. There's a good chance you might have heard a few of their tracks before. Their new album, Healer, was originally slated to be released in the spring/summer of 2019, but was delayed to 2020. Healer marks the band's fourth studio album, and their first album not released in September!

The first track and first single off the album is Deleter. The first thing I've noticed is that the track has the upbeat and energetic sound of Grouplove, but the vocals are a little different. The vocals sound a little more worried and concerned. According to the lead singer of Grouplove, he said that the world, especially the United States, is in a crazy place and wants to rally people up to make a change.

Next, we have Inside Out. Just as the first track started out differently, I'm getting another different vibe from this track. Grouplove does have some lighter tracks too, but I'm just not feeling the normal sound of what you would expect from the band. During the chorus, Christian Zucconi's vocals actually sound similar to Michael Angelakos of Passion Pit. Not a terrible track by any means, but not what you would expect from this group.

Expectations brings us back with the female singer from Grouplove, Hannah Hooper. The instrumental isn't totally off of what Grouplove would release. It is a little more high pitched than their regular music, but it is playful in nature, which is what they have been releasing in the past. Not my favorite track from the album, but it's growing on me.

The Great Unknown brings us back to Christian Zucconi taking over the lead vocals. You got a great guitar progression, classic drums, the energetic beat and vocals. Just what you would expect from the group.

Next, we have a great duo track titled Youth. Besides Hannah taking over the role of lead vocals, the pre-chorus and chorus have some great harmonies going on. There's also a call and response going on during the pre-chorus which fits so perfectly with the vibe of the track. I can't help but think about Slumlord's Re-lease by Neon Indian. The synth in that track sounds like a higher-pitched version of the synth in Youth. The track talks about how they're letting their inner child, or youth, out.

After that, we're back with a light, primarily acoustic track titled Places. I love how each time a chorus passes, they just keep on adding on with different string instruments. There are some brass instruments mixed in their, but overall, it's a sweet soft track. His falsetto voice during the chorus also is spot on, which can be hard for several artists.

Promises is a heavy political track. The first verse talks about how the news is negative and people are going to be disappointed by what they hear. The chorus talks about how the promises made were not kept. Christian Zucconi says that he wants someone new (assuming he's talking about the president) that will actually keep their promise.

On Ahead of Myself, Hannah Hooper is back on the lead vocals. On this track, you can just hear the emotion in her voice. This is another track that doesn't have too much going on instrumentally in the beginning. Most of it is just an acoustic guitar with a drumbeat. However, we have a heavy electric guitar/synth sound during the bridge of the track.

The first thing I noticed on Hail to the Queen was the repeated triplet notes on the guitar which keeps the track pushing forward in tempo. However, I just feel like there isn't too much energy pushed into this track. It is a fun and great track from what I hear, but I do wish there was a more high-energy version. Maybe things will change when they perform this live.

The next track, Burial, uses some unique guitar pedals to get this, experimental/electronic sound. This is what I would expect a 'staple' Grouplove track to sound like and I am glad they haven't completely given up on that signature sound. The last two-minute outro on this track would have been a perfect closer for the album. They definitely put all of their raw and focused energy onto this track.

The last track on the album is This is Everything. A great track between Christian and Hannah where they switch off on every verse. Despite it being a 'slower' track, this is definitely one I can get behind. The harmonies before the outro are so enchanting and almost breathtaking. While I did say the previous track would have been a perfect way to end the album, I definitely see why they chose this track for the closer.

While Grouplove definitely changed up their sound on this album, it was surprising to see them take this route. I understand a lot of groups will usually have one 'slower' or more 'emotional' album, but I wasn't feeling much of it. I'm sure a lot of fans would agree with this statement, but Grouplove is known for their energetic music, and I did not hear that on many of the tracks on the album. There are some amazing tracks on the album, but there are also some tracks that are easy to skip, or not even pay attention to.
Overall Rating: 6/10
Favorite Tracks: The Great Unknown, Youth, Burial, This is Everything

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