Gloo, How Not to Be Happy (Hassle Records, 2021)

Coming out of the seaside English town of Littlehampton, Gloo makes me feel nostalgic.

The trio's punky yet poppy guitar-driven songwriting style connects classic-era Sub Pop with the garage rock of Estrus Records, always leaning into the most melodic aspects of those worlds.

Gloo was formed in 2017 by brothers Thomas (vocals/guitar) and Mark Harfield (drums), and How Not to Be Happy is the group's second full-length record.

Produced by Jag Jago (Maccabees, The Ghost of a Thousand), the album sounds radio-ready in the best way possible. The guitars, especially, burst out of the speakers with plenty of punch. Thomas' vocals also cut through the music nicely, which is crucial since Gloo write hooks that deserve to be front and center when they arrive.

The first 2 tracks—"I Can't Hear Myself Think" and "Ride"—set the tone with choruses that lodge themselves in your head from the onset.

How Not to Be Happy continues on with one ear nugget after the other. “If we’re having fun playing it, that’s the sign of a good song to us," Thomas said in the publicity materials for the new record, and you can tell he isn't bullshitting.

Check out the Hives-like rock 'n' roll swing of "No One Gives a Fuck" or the similarly driving "Big Smoke" to get the gist. Gloo are having a ball doing what they do, and they never forget to show up to the party with catchy guitar riffs and vocals in tow.

As I said above, these are songs that should be on American rock radio, and if it were still 1993 or so, they would be! MTV would also been all over this (paging Matt Pinfield!).

I'm based in the States so I'm not sure how hype Gloo have around How Not to Be Happy over there, but the album certainly should appeal to a wide cross-section of listeners. After all, great hooks are great hooks.

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