When the members of Grouplove met it was like a dream. The setting was a remote artist colony on the exotic, mysterious Greek island of Crete. Drummer/producer Ryan Rabin and his childhood friend and former bandmate, guitarist Andrew Wessen came from California, guitarist Christian Zucconi and keyboarist Hannah Hooper traveled from New York, and bassist Sean Gadd was the lone Brit.
Each member went to Greece for their own independent reasons but over time they gravitated towards each other and discovered the sound that unified them: a merging of richly narrated, intricate songs with anthemic classic pop production. It took the band the better part of a year to reunite after they left the island. The colony, which Andrew’s brother founded, allowed the members of Grouplove to step outside their comfort zones. “We spent our days together at a secluded beach far from the tourist traps, passing around the guitar or ukulele and sharing our songs with each other.
Never Trust A Happy Song is a brawny, ecstatic album filled with ambitious, varied, expansive, tunes underscored by crisp percussion and killer harmonies. “The variety in the musical taste and writing styles of each member really makes each of our songs unique,” Ryan explains. “The honest, open-minded process we go through in rehearsal and in the studio brings the songs home and gives them the 'Grouplove' sound.” Under the Grouplove banner, “Colours,” became a delicate but powerful slow/fast jam. “Itchin On A Photograph” is a soaring epic propelled by spacey guitar licks and vigorous handclaps. And “Tongue Tied,” is an electronic infused dance anthem that showcases the band’s obsession with careening harmonies.
In keeping with the progressive context of their meeting, Hannah, Andrew, and Sean all share vocal duties and take their turn fronting the band - though Christian sings lead on most songs – Ryan produces all of their material, and all five bandmembers receive songwriting credit on every tune: Grouplove is a true collaboration. The album’s title initially seems ironic: On the surface the band’s vibe comes off as happy, the songs soar with a kind of shimmering, youthful exuberance. But just beneath that sunny sheen, there is a reservoir of longing and melancholy. The Grouplove signature is blending those two pillars of life: sorrow and joy. Hannah explains, “As individuals we are heavier, darker, but when we are together we bring the love.”