Album: How Not To Be Happy
Label/Vertrieb: Hassle Records / Membran
Life sucks and then you die. That much everyone knows. What GLOO are here to remind you, though, is that you don’t have to let those universal truths defeat you. When the world is doing its utmost to drag you down, you can choose to laugh in its face.
Formed in 2017 by brothers Thomas (vocals/guitar) and Mark Harfield (drums) – the three-piece’s line-up minted soon after by the addition of bassist and Tom’s old school friend Simon Keet – GLOO, it’s important to understand, are not in the business of serious rock’n’roll. No, that can be left to the po-faced for whom being in a band seems more chore than enjoyment. Being raised on listening to AC/DC in your dad’s car will shape your view of music in such a way. Growing up in a place such as Littlehampton, a faded seaside town on England’s south coast 20 miles east of Brighton and a world away from London’s bright lights, instils a certain appreciation for life’s simple things. But if we’re not here for a <long> time, we might as well have a <good> time, right?
How Not To Be Happy, GLOO’s second full-length offering and first for esteemed indie label Hassle Records, speaks of that in abundance: 10 tracks of escapism that reflect the drudgery of the everyday but seek to shrug it off over the course of a thirty-minute blur of power-pop, post-grunge and punk rock.
“I read a lot of self-help books myself, trying to look for ways to make myself happier,” says Thomas Harfield. “But people don’t read one self-help book and then they’re fixed; they <constantly> read them – so maybe they don’t work at all! That made me think, ‘Well, if you can’t learn how to be happy, maybe you can learn how <not> to be happy…
“I wrote these songs because I wanted to figure shit out in my life,” he adds. “But there’s enough people in the world saying, ‘Things are shit.’ And we all know they are. We wanted to be the voice that I don’t see anywhere else, that’s saying, ‘We know things are shit – but don’t we all really need a place to forget that for a while?”
GLOO’s debut album A Pathetic Youth and subsequent Stop And Stare EP laid down the musical blueprint for the band, echoing the likes of Nirvana, Dinosaur Jr, Husker Du and Sugar – three-pieces who similarly preached of the power in the purity of when guitar, bass and drums collide – and earned support from the likes of Spotify, Radio 1 (Dan P. Carter, Jack Saunders and Huw Stephens) and Kerrang!. The band’s high-octane live shows, meanwhile, won fans the old-fashioned way via support slots with Press Club, Queen Kwong and Demob Happy, and appearances at festivals including 2000Trees and The Great Escape. The lessons learned during those years have all coalesced into shaping not only How Not To Be Happy’s sound – a more melodic, looser, slacker GLOO – but also its spirit.
Decamping to Brighton Electric for a fortnight of intense recording sessions between Covid lockdowns last year – with further work and refinement later carried out remotely – GLOO set about capturing, first and foremost, what they instinctively knew above all us: that being in a band is supposed to be fun. While producer Jag Jago (Maccabees, The Ghost Of A Thousand) helped the band to unearth qualities hitherto unknown in the collection of songs with which the three-piece arrived, what elevates How Not To Be Happy is the authentic capturing of three friends playing songs that first and foremost raise a smile in themselves. As drummer Mark puts it: “It doesn’t matter if it’s Stairway To Heaven – if it doesn’t feel GLOO when we’re in a room playing together, we’re not going to keep it.”
“When we’re playing a new song, we know it’s good if it’s making us laugh,” explains Tom. “If we’re having fun playing it, that’s the sign of a good song to us. Not many ideas get past that. Our songs have to have a cheeky side to them, lyrically or musically. When I’m writing, I’ll always look for that humorous edge, but it’s not something that comes naturally. I’ll discard 10 songs before I land upon a way of writing about a topic that is almost me laughing at myself. And that’s when I know I have something.”
Sardonic, cathartic self-deprecation is engrained in How Not To Be Happy, whether it’s in the lamenting a broken heart (on recently-released single Down) or a dead-end job (Work So Hard), or in needling people – themselves included – who think the answer to their woes lies in sweeping, life-changing plans (Big Smoke). <<’No one gives a fuck about your feelings’>> teases the stand-out No One Gives A Fuck, while the acoustic album-closer and sure-fire live singalong Rizla delivers the most on-the-nose visual metaphor: trying in vain to fashion a cigarette from sodden rolling papers.
“I think How To Not Be Happy is an album that everyone can relate to, but ultimately, what I really want is for people to feel that it’s the album they <needed> to hear,” says Tom. “It’s an album for tearing up shit, having a good time, and forgetting about the world.”
Life sucks. And that’s OK. Listen to GLOO.
–Sam Coare, March 2021
Album: A Pathetic Youth
Label/Vertrieb: Hassle Records / Membran
GLOO are excited to share their signing to Hassle Records, reissuing their critically acclaimed album ‘A PATHETIC YOUTH’. The album will be available physically for the first time on a limited run of opaque red vinyl & CD on November 29th 2019.
“'To be signing with Hassle is a real game changer for us. We've grown up listening to their earlier bands and have loved making noise with Press Club recently. When we properly met Wez and Mease, it was clear there was a mutual understanding of what the band was about and where it could take us. Whilst we wouldn't change any part of the journey that has ultimately brought us to this point (shit night out in Newquay included), we are super fucking happy to take this to the next level. It might seem a bit of a backwards step to be re-releasing music we have already had out, but we still love these tracks and the idea of them getting the helping hand that we feel they deserved the first time around was just too tempting. Plus, if it goes tits up, at least we'll be on vinyl.” - Tom Harfield (Vocals), Gloo
“Our signing policy is simple; we sign bands we like, and people we like. We really like Gloo. They are an excellent example of a band making music and loving it. We’re really looking forward to working with them for many years to come”. - Wez, Hassle Records
A product of their fading seaside resort hometown, Littlehampton, GLOO create high octane and abrasive sounds, pulsing with infectious melodies. GLOO adhere to provide a sense of relief from modern life’s struggles - the fantasy of quitting a dead-end and mundane nine-to-five job, the aspiration to escape small-town life and see the world.
It’s a sound that roars with ambition, as demonstrated in ‘A PATHETIC YOUTH’ (KKKK - Kerrang!, 4/5 - Upset), which has garnered support from Louder, Kerrang!, Upset, BBC Radio 1, Kerrang! and Amazing Radio and landed the band a BBC Introducing live radio session.
Gloo’s full-throttled live shows have landed their support to Queen Kwong, Press Club, Demob Happy and Richie Ramone, alongside a slot at 2000 Trees and BBC Amplify. Their music, vivacity and spirited live shows speak for themselves and Gloo has their eyes firmly set on breaking out of the norm they were born into.
‘A Pathetic Youth’ Track Listing
2. No Sh*t Sally
3. Force You
4. Hit It
5. Let Me Have Some
7. Say Yes
8. Act My Age
9. Dripping Wet