Just as everything was shutting down last year, Grouplove was putting out the ironically well-named Healer (QRO review), and had to trade in another big tour for Instagram live performances, before returning to their regular lives. But those regular lives included making music, and the band has returned with their surprise drop This Is This one year later. A touch harder than prior Grouplove fare, more a shout than a call, there is a catharsis that hits home.
The quiet/loud rock strain is strong on This, from the opener “Primetime” to the closer “Shout”, reflecting lives that have gotten both smaller and bigger at the same time. But Grouplove does not focus only on the anguish. There’s still some great party time in “Just What You Want”, featuring Dani Miller of Surfbort, a rocker about a record store in “Seagulls”, chill bop “Shake That Ass”, and the requisite slow heart sway “Oxygen Swimming”. Single “Deadline” (QRO review) is a nice mix of everything Grouplove.
A surprise quick follow-up album can often feel a little unnecessary, the artist just wanting to put out more than is needed (and didn’t have the ego to go double-album in the first place…), but these aren’t usual times. It’s been a million years since last year, since Healer, and This Is This is about now.