Spreading Rumours is an exciting leap forward from Grouplove’s debut offering; it’s always rewarding to hear a band pushing forward rather than resting on their well-received laurels.

Grouplove shot to prominence on the back of their 2011 debut, Never Trust A Happy Song, which was all bare feet, summer air and nostalgia. Fast-forward two years and we’ve arrived at Spreading Rumours – and Grouplove have unzipped a whole new bag of tricks for album number two.

Although Spreading Rumours is ostensibly full of the indie pop glory that first put Grouplove on the map, things have taken a slightly darker detour here and some of the kinks that had appeared on Never Trust A Happy Song have been largely ironed out – Christian Zucconi’s caterwauling howls and screeches have been thankfully pared back and if tracks like ‘Schoolboy’ are among the weaker links, things for Grouplove are only on the up.

Lead single ‘Ways To Go’ keeps the whimsical, happy-go-lucky vibes strong. Blending punchy pop with fuzzed-out, warm synths and with the magical chemistry from Zucconi and Hannah Hooper’s vocal play, it is a fine return to form indeed.

Regardless, Spreading Rumours hits some serious strong points elsewhere; ‘Hippy Hill’ is delightfully tongue-in-cheek – “I’d rather be a hippy than a hipster” sings Zucconi, swathed in a background of soft, smooth hums, handclaps and an acoustic guitar – that is, until the chorus kicks the door wide open. Before you know it, in comes a heavy electro breakdown that’s gone before you’ve even recovered from the sudden aural assault. Similarly, ‘Shark Attack’ sees Grouplove playing with textures and sounds outside of their usual repertoire and it yields brilliant results – it packs a decent wallop compared to the likes of ‘Raspberry’, which is pedestrian at best.

3.5/5 stars


Spreading Rumours is out now throughAtlantic/Canvasback.

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