The couple's vocal symmetry has always been a huge part of what makes Grouplove's sound so engaging, and their growth, both personally and creatively, is evident throughout Big Mess. It's a theme they tackle straight-away on the soaring lead-off track "Welcome to Your Life," singing, "Been wondering, I take a chance/That chance is circumstance/'Cause nothing ever comes without a change." Elsewhere, cuts like the bombastic "Do You Love Someone," "Standing in the Sun," and the pulsing, electronic dance music-infused "Good Morning," find the band staking out the improbable, and improbably likeable, middle ground between Katy Perry and the Pixies. Similarly, tracks like the yearning "Heart of Mine" and romantic "Enlighten Me" bring to mind an engaging mix of the Flaming Lips and Fun.. Which isn't to say that Grouplove don't sound like themselves here. On the contrary, they've simply reached the place where they are able to channel their influences through their own voice and their own experiences. Ultimately, by celebrating those life experiences on Big Mess, Grouplove have crafted an ecstatic, joyful album.
At the very least, Big Mess deserves minor plaudits for one decent romp, 'Cannonball'. No, it's not a Breeders cover, but if the lot had any sense, they'd lob this one at every college radio station. You'd think that Zucconi would bomb at rap - and he does, but he doesn't completely embarrass himself. You'd also think that the exuberant, get-down chorus would clash with the slick electro verses - and it does, but in a pop album where everything else runs smoothly and without incident, a little clashing livens the party. On the whole, though, Grouplove have done nothing to deserve our attention. Like needy college students – really, like 90 percent of other indie pop bands – they ask us to join them in a stable, homogenous world where everything revolves around them. No, Grouplove, you can’t build your Urban Outfitters here. No, you’re not a big mess. Learn to see the world as someone else’s, and then we can talk about love.
(Drowned In Sound)