When I first pressed play on Groupthink’s “Peach Fuzz” last October, nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to experience. What started as a grungy collaboration that took one of my favorite artists out of his comfort zone quickly blossomed into a full scale indie dance powerhouse of a band. They were releasing music unlike anything I had heard before, seemingly evolving with each new track.
The Los Angeles-based by way of North Carolina and Chicago band has made a name for themselves over the last three years through their emotional, self-expressive sound. Pairing vulnerable, coming-of-age lyricism with influences of seemingly every genre, from punk to indie pop to house, Groupthink has arrived with their debut EP, before the afters — a collection of tracks that display every aspect of their remarkable growth since 2019.
The EP is the result of a winding journey to where Groupthink are today. With eight distinctly unique songs perfect for the club, late night car drives, or simply sitting in bed and staring at the ceiling, Groupthink takes you on a journey like no other. The band kick off the project with lead single “Gray,” the first taste of their house music journey, as they grapple with having to let go of someone they love. Intertwined with lyricism about death, overthinking, and needing an escape from the world, they quickly introduce the listener to many of the recurring themes that appear throughout the EP.
“Was I Supposed To Care?” embarks on a more pop-induced road, reminiscent of late 2000s, techno influenced radio hits, while reflecting on a deteriorating relationship and the impact of drugs on their lives. This continues in “Life On High,” as Groupthink seemingly achieves the high they sought through the prior relationship, opening by singing, “I’m not depressed, no / I’m just obsessed with sex,” going on to explore the struggles they face in their everyday life. Glitchy, electronic production masks the darker lyricism, creating a sound to match the title rather than the meaning, before these sonics give way for a slow, melancholic ballad on “true religion.”
The second half of the project kicks off with “Dancing On My Grave” featuring KennyHoopla, combining elements of dance music with the grunge influence both Kenny and Groupthink have become accustomed to create. The duo speak towards the same significant figure that appears throughout the EP, seemingly grappling with their two-faced facade, singing, “If I die here / I swear the two of you would be dancing on my grave.” “KILLERS” arrives straight out of a horror film, telling a story of serial killers as they build suspense throughout the entire two and a half minutes, resulting in a series of beat drops and uncertainty for “Dressed For A Funeral” to capitalize on.
A collaboration with Sunday Scaries, “Dressed For A Funeral” is everything Groupthink wanted in a club record, yet still contains the coming of age themes apparent throughout the project. Their youth has been killed as they are forced into the adult life they do not want to take part of, yet recognizes it by the end as they sing, “Rest in peace / To the kids that we were.” An accompanying music video further portrays this club lifestyle, using real footage from an 1000+ person party Sunday Scaries and Groupthink threw in LA, featuring cameos from the likes of Brent Faiyaz and Matt Ox amongst others.
“ur the only one i’m talking to” closes out the EP, a return to the pop sound featured on “Was I Supposed To Care?.” The track brings one last wrinkle to the increasingly complex relationship that Groupthink finds themselves in, singing, “I’ve got trust issues, she’s in love with him / But she’s fucking me / And he’s kissing you,” before an acapella outro sees the project out.
before the afters is Groupthink like nobody has ever experienced before, with their most advanced sounds while simultaneously at their most vulnerable, creating for a 20-minute listen that is truly unlike any other.
Check out ‘before the afters’ below!