After much blogosphere fanfare, Peace have released their debut album ‘In Love’, and whilst it doesn’t head in any radically new sonic directions, it’s already one of the best albums of 2013.
The Birmingham quartet’s excellent EP, titled ‘Delicious’ and released last year, propelled the band into the national indie conscience, with baggy rhythms and stop start riffs comparisons were drawn to the likes of Vampire Weekend, Wu Lyf and Foals. Peace from the very start were held in very high esteem indeed.
A signed contract with record label Columbia and a spot on the NME Awards tour with fellow ‘saviours of british indeeeee’ Palma Violets gained the band widespread attention, and they were quickly famed for their electrically raucous live shows.
‘In Love’ starts off with ‘Higher Than The Sun’, featuring swirling guitar incredibly reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine and a shoe-in sing-a-long anthem chorus. A full-on frontal assault of a track, it’s a surprising choice to kick-off the album considering the change of tempo witnessed on the EP.
‘Follow Baby’ sees even more MBVesque guitar and yet another catchy chorus, yet this time the band give you more time for reflection.
‘Lovesick’ is an unapologetically poppy love song with Koisser cooing ‘I just wanna be a fool and get lovesick with you’.
Three songs in and disappointingly there’s no real evidence of the incredible musicianship seen on the EP, it all just seems like the songs were hammered out as the record label deadline drew ever closer.
The beautifully delicate and stripped back ‘Float Forever’, rectifies that though, and for the first time the vocal quality of Koisser comes shining through. His songwriting ability is for the first time genuinely evident as he ponders ‘If there’s dew drops in the darkness they’re hiding from you’re eyes’.
One of the undeniable highlights of the album, single ‘Wraith’, zig-zags in straight after, with stop-start guitar that would make even Yannis from Foals blush. ‘Math-rock’ is quite a cringey genre to namedrop but at times ‘Wraith’ seems the fit the mould completely, before some shameless House piano kicks in. It’s a track that bounces absolutely everywhere, keeping you hooked from beginning to end.
‘Waste of Paint’ is admittedly a couple of notes away from being Blur’s ‘There’s No Other Way’ and the album surprisingly starts to meander, with a few non-noteworthy tracks disrupting the much needed flow.
The breezy dream-like ‘Sugarstone’ sees standards rise once again, standards that are maintained with ‘California Daze’, which is a late highlight. If at first it might seem a bit cheesy just give it a few listens and it’ll grow exponentially on you. Musically and lyrically it’s not really up to much, but the sheer audacity of how gooey-eyed in nature it is means it’s got enough bollocks to carry itself beautifully through.
What’s plainly obvious is that Peace work so much better when they take their time, slow things down and move leftfield. The album highlights are the tracks that have clearly been given attention and care, rather than the more frenetic punk-like numbers.
Debut albums can often provide the deadly pin to pop the fragile hype balloon, but ‘In Love holds relatively firm. There are undeniable throw backs to previous eras of music but Peace don’t try and hide that, and indeed if you’ve ever seen photos of them they look like Inspiral Carpets after being dragged through varying standards of vintage stands in Birmingham Rag Market.
Two particular highlights of the EP were ‘Bloodshake’ and ‘1998 (Delicious)’ yet these have, for whatever reason, been excluded on ‘In Love’. A simple substitution for two or three of the songs on the current track-list would have made for a far better album, whether this decision will come back to haunt the band will have to be seen.
Groundbreaking? No, but it’s a thoroughly enjoyable album that adds a certain zest back into British indie, offers more than Palma Violets’ debut, and will hopefully bring sheepskin jackets back into mainstream fashion.
P.S ‘B-Town’, a reference to Peace’s hometown of Birmingham, is a horrendous use of the English language and, as such, it wasn’t mentioned once in this review.