Grouplove’s latest release, Healer centers around their opening song of the album. With the contrasting title of “Deleter”, the opening track starts with a tantalizing hook and rocks its way through an anthem celebrating the band’s return after a three-year hiatus. It’s high energy, smoothly produced, and wildly free while clearly under the adept musicians’ control. Right after the first song ends, the album cools down, letting their foot off the gas and cruising by at a steady pace without reengaging the kick that started off with “Deleter”.
The next 10-songs are essentially the montage that occurs in a romantic film when the lead couple is happily going through life without conflict interrupting them. It is kind and warm, celebrating the steady love between lead singers and recent parents Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi. Healer is full of lasting relationship songs, however, there is a reason that montages are kept short in films since being a happy couple is rather unmemorable.
A few political songs appear in Healer that rally against hypocrisy and archaic policies, most aptly illustrated in their song “Promises”. Unlike the punk genre’s approach of burning down the broken system, Grouplove’s indie-pop style is calmly calling for us to come together. It was written over the course of the Trump administration’s first few years with a backdrop of seemingly uncrossable divisions as well as the looming threat of the oceans rising among other disasters. Healer landed precisely at a time when people are being asked to physically stay away from each other in order to protect the most vulnerable in our society from a global pandemic. Things have been getting crazier by the day and Healer is a kind return to normalcy. Grouplove sticks with the formula that made them popular to begin with, with an energizing hit embed within a youthful joyride. Most people may not be able to physically get together at the moment to listen to Grouplove’s latest album, but it would make great background music for a virtual hangout session.
Healer is a feel-good album meant to unify in a time of chaos. Fans and lovers will find their select songs to add to playlists, but as a whole, the majority of the album feels like it is strumming the same vibe in a slightly different manner with each song. Their lead single “Deleter” is the most memorable of the album, with the rest of the songs fading together.