Group Therapy is a hub for engaging with vibrant and absorbing music from artists that you may or may not have heard of.
All the while, the collective are doing whatever they can to help in someway to ensure not only the stability of the venues for which they and we rely on so dearly, but also our National Health Service which naturally needs to be helped and supported in anyway it possibly can.
It’s a gift for a gift, you help to ensure the resuming economy of the two industries that effectively allows us to be who we want to be in this society, and you are provided with a wealth of music that will comfort, engage and inspire you through these hard, isolating times. For a mere seven pounds, you are provided all this.
Yet ‘Vol.1’ isn’t just thrown together. In an attempt to raise spirits and engage with people, Group Therapy have expertly curated a compilation bursting with some of the most exciting sounds currently presenting itself to the nation today. They do so with aplomb.
‘Vol.1’, in all its length and weight, still manages to captures the innate and prolific creativity that has been unanimously bursting out from not only the capital but from the friends of friends around the country. It blurs the notion of regional barriers and highlights friendship and collaboration, ignoring the long over-relied upon notion of “regional scenes” and lighting up the connection nationally. Long has music journalism doted on this idea to craft some sort of publicity or interest – ‘Vol.1’ is example enough that that sort of lazy critique should have been buried years ago.
While the compilation offers a sense of the deep connection the UK music community shares, it also spotlights a singular, isolated approach to creativity. It’s not to say that there is a lack of bands here, not in anyway – The Lounge Society’s brash live take of ‘Generation Game’ feels all encompassing, Treeboy & Arc are frothing incomprehensibly on ‘Fishing F.C’ and Blue Bendy offer perhaps the highlight of the whole release with the brooding and evocative ‘BF Minimum’. Yet it’s undeniable that many of the standouts on offer here are gifted by some of the most evocative and esoterically enigmatic solo artists bashfully and humbly making a name for themselves.
Max Bloom reimagines Happyness’ tearful ‘Seeing Eye Dog’ as a soft-psych odyssey, Will Carkeet crafts utterly stunning, spectral soundscapes with ‘Sinical I died….’ and Glows churns and charms electronic spareness from ‘Champion Song’, perhaps one of their most sporadic and atmospheric moments yet. This is all even before Lynks Afrikka lays an absolute slam dunk of a self-conscious jam with ‘Sexy (from behind)’. It’s too far to suggest we are in a stage of more solitary creativity, but there’s certainly a welcome array of artists going it alone with wondrous results.
As a whole, ‘Vol.1’ embraces melancholic, solemn rawness to abstract, esoteric experimentalism, with perfectly positioned bouts of innate angst and exasperation thrown in for good measure. 404 Guild sound utterly vital as they bawl over social anxiety with ‘Fearful’ and LICE somehow sound even more haunting and disassociated than they usually do with ‘Cargo’. Yet what ‘Vol.1’ gifts us most is simply a distinctive array of assured, unique voices. Jean Penne is an overwhelming voice riddled with contemptuous irony, Tony Njoku sounds utterly spellbinding and tearfully raw on ‘Falling Flux’, while Avice Caro somehow utterly transforms ‘Meet Me Halfway’ into a sparse and unmistakable gem.
All together, ‘Group Therapy Vol.1’ blossoms like an early 2000s blog playlist, full of the exciting unknown. But where those particular artists felt unreachable, closed off and faceless, this as a whole feels substantial and responsive, something that’s willing to get lost in your world as much as it wants you to get subsumed in theirs.
The new issue of So Young is out now. It’s SOLD OUT in print but you can read the digital edition below.