Last year, we looked at Grouplove’s “Healer” album and now we’re looking at their surprise release, “This Is This.”
This nine-song album comes close to the band’s 2020 album. Before “Healer,” Grouplove hadn’t released an album since 2017, and now, we see two albums only a year apart. It seems that during the pandemic, many artists, Grouplove included, have had plenty of time to feel inspired and have continued to release music.
“This Is This” begins with “Primetime,” a song that feels darker than much of their other music, but with the indie sound that we expect from Grouplove. It’s an interesting choice for the first song on the album because it seems disjointed from the rest of “This Is This.”
“This Is This” also includes “Just What You Want (feat. Dani Miller of Surfbort),” the band’s first collaboration on an album. While Grouplove has worked with other artists on singles, this is the first and only feature they’ve introduced on any album they’ve released.
Despite being a collaboration, “Just What You Want (feat. Dani Miller of Surfbort)” is uniquely Grouplove, an anthemic song with a build and catchy chorus that remind us all of iconic songs like “Tongue Tied,” “Ways to Go” and “Itchin’ on a Photograph.”
“Deadline” was the only single as part of this album, and it’s a song that’s already gotten some attention. The third song on the album, it’s ’80s, it’s synth, it’s alternative and it’s upbeat; it’s a song that feels like a single. It makes sense that Grouplove would release this as a single, even if only a day or so before its album release.
“This Is This” ends with “Shout,” the longest song on the album at almost six minutes long. “Shout” is alternative still, but dips more into rock or alternative rock than some of Grouplove’s other music. The bridge especially feels defeating and like the music you’d hear when the main character of the movie realizes that they’re a failure and needs to then go through character development. This song is that ‘rock bottom’ moment.
It’s hard to follow up “Healer” as an album. “Healer” was a return to Grouplove as an entity with its own sound and style, and felt anthemic, much like the band’s most successful albums from the early 2010s. Released so close together, it’s hard not to compare the two.
So, how does “This Is This” compare with “Healer?” It’s an album that’s more alternative rock than some of Grouplove’s other releases, and perhaps this has to do with the rather grim circumstances of its production during a pandemic. But still, “This Is This” feels like an album that’s fitting for 2021. It’s about new beginnings yes, but it’s also about the pain of the past.