Peace’s last album ‘In Love’ was characterised by the fact it sounded like the 90s packaged into one little teenage dream documenting the many feelings that you have when you’re falling in love for the first time. It had some seriously cute music and signified that Peace might be worthy torch holders for modern Indie pop music. Lead singer, Harrison Koisser said he hadn’t actually heard of most of the bands that Peace were compared to but it hasn’t stopped them from sounding very 90s-esque on their second album, ‘Happy People’. Peace sound a lot more polished than before and channel other influences like the Happy Mondays rather than the grunge influenced Britpop from their first album.
Koisser himself is an extremely witty and laid back character – he’s not pissed off with the world, he still kind of has that teenage mentality where he doesn’t want to grow up and wants everything to be all smiles and rainbows forever. That’s basically the best way to sum up Peace’s new album, they replace the snarls of Britpop with optimism and the hope of being eternally happy essentially. They vaguely ask the question as to why people actually aren’t as happy as they should be, but this is to mixed results. The song ‘Money’ shows off the worst side of this with lyrics that are slightly witty but most of the time they’re worthy of some serious eye rolls with lines like ‘The man who’s made of money/Is terrible to kiss/Not because he’s sloppy/Because his paper lips’ and a chorus that’s even more simplistic posing the question ‘Money, do you need it? Do you eat it when you’re hungry?’. It’s times like these where you’ll be begging for the return of the cheesy love lines they delivered on their first album that were just so sweet it didn’t matter if you’d heard them one hundred times before. This is probably made worse by the fact that because of the more polished production, Koisser’s vocals are a lot more prominent than before putting more emphasis on the lyrics.
Every now and again there is a golden nugget to be found within Koisser’s simple lyrics that very much reflect how funny and (for lack of a better word) sassy he is in real life. Lyrics aren’t really what this record – or this band for that matter – are about. You get the feeling that Peace’s only intention is to help you have a good time (especially if you’re a teenager), this reflects in their energetic live shows and their care free attitudes displayed in interviews. The elements that make Indie pop so enjoyable are still very much in-tact on this record. They can put together choruses that are explosive and deliciously catchy like the songs ‘Like a Girl’ and ‘Lost On Me’ with the former having an explosive hook and the latter being a more smooth groove orientated song. They squeeze the most amount of memorable hooks they can onto this album all sung with Koisser’s charismatic charm.
Instrumentally these guys aren’t afraid to repackage time-old guitar tones and licks into their own style. These guys’ instrumentals can’t really be flawed because of the fact that they play off of each other so damn well. Take the song ‘O You’ and the way that the guitars all weave around each other so elegantly, or the way that on every single track they’re trying to master another guitar tone or effect. They’re occasionally guilty of being slightly simplistic like on the title track, but on the whole they have a chemistry that you’ll only hear when the band gets along and enjoy what they’re doing – something Oasis and many other Britpop bands failed in.
At the end of their album there’s a hint at something more from Peace that comes in the shape of the song ‘World Pleasure’, a six-minute epic that has them shamelessly going for a sound similar to Stone Roses/Happy Mondays and having a bloody good time with it. They pretty much jam it out for the last three minutes of the song over this funky as hell bassline which all together sounds like the ambition we need to see more of from the group. Peace don’t really have many original ideas and they’ve not quite got to the point where they can make political songs that actually resonate in a big way with an audience, but they have truly mastered the art of having a good time and making pop tunes that stick in your head like glue. The fact that they’ve released a bonus edition of this album with eight extra songs shows that this band don’t have a bad work ethic in the slightest either. A worthy band to hold the Indie-Pop torch in the UK, no doubt.
Best Tracks: World Pleasure, Like a Girl, Gen Strange