Peace – Happy People review

It says a lot about a band if they can sell out dates so frequently that they find them adding more than one extra for certain cities, and it speaks highly of Peace as that’s what they’ve had to do. After the incredible success of the Midlands four-piece with their debut album, In Love, released back in 2013, there’s no hiding from the fact that they’ve set the standard incredibly high to follow. After getting signed to Columbia Records, the quartet toured the world to countries they’d never heard of, and consequently most of the record was written in hotels and on the road.

Mostly produced by Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, Bombay Bicycle Club), the man behind their first release, there’s new straightforward way to sum up the style of the record, without saying it’s akin to X meets Y with a splash of Z and a bit of everything else. Peace are true to their name in opening O You, a nostalgic piece with more than a hint of politics in the lyrics, encompassed in the sound they work so well. If mainstream indie-rock got its hands on psychedelia, 90s grunge and the sheer eclecticness of experimental, you’re edging towards what the album works as.

The sound of (what is probably) a mantelpiece pendulum clock in the opening of Gen Strange gives a nod to not only the band’s position in the wrong era, but the experimental vibe. If you mixed Alabama 3 and The Vaccines, you’d have nailed the infectious accidentally dancey sound they stem off of. Lost On Me goes to sound rather Crowded House-esque, driven by a bassy sound that again delves into dance, whilst lyric powered Perfect Skin is riddled with honesty of insecurities, allowing the instrumental to firework behind it.

The album’s title track is another filled with doubts under the fuzzy synthesisers, with a few closing seconds of acoustics hinting that they might simply be a built up guitar band, again present in personal break-up song Someday. Based on frontman Harrison Koisser’s own experience, the quiet yet cymbal heavy track takes a break from the overwhelming bass to reflect, before the politics surge back in again with Money. Layered vocals and a stop start rhythm that dances around through headphones again slides the record towards to experimental end of the world.

Anti-violence I’m A Girl is on the surface as addictive as it is cleverly written on closer examination, and the infectious chorus marks it as a radio ready single; there’s no dispute as to why this is one of the album’s singles. Stepping back into the 90s theme with Under The Moon, Koisser’s lethargic vocals all but drag their heels through the music, layered under a lullaby-esque instrumental. Closing with six and a half minutes World Pleasure, there’s no better way to round up and sum up the record.

Peace have managed to forge an album that strikes the perfect balance between personal, political and fun. They boast more commercial promise than The 1975, and on a technical level, there’s been nothing this interesting in the mainstream for too long. Expect them all over festivals this summer.

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