Peace are songwriting naturals. This is an album on which juvenile innocence gives way to new experiences – a rush of hormones here (‘Lovesick’), someone else’s saliva there (‘Delicious’). You can taste the bright vitality of wild adventure. Yum. If there isn’t a tear in your eye by the final “ooh”s and “aah”s of strummed lullaby ‘California Daze’ (“This one’s for the diamonds in the dark/And all the people in the park”) your heart is a swinging brick.
Those with one foot in the past may view Peace with scepticism, finding them over-familiar. Alright, the psych opener ‘Higher Than The Sun’ reminds us of The Beatles’ ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ as guitars swirl through a Technicolor wash of dirge. Admittedly, the grunge ‘Follow Baby’ blasts off like My Vitriol or Mansun before hammering a Gallagher lyric of “We gon’ live for-evaaah”. Yes, ‘Wraith’ is laced with Herculean drumming and could’ve been by The Charlatans. Indeed, ‘Toxic’ is one-dimensional, employing riffs that fizz like sherbert Flying Saucers. Totally, you can sing Blur’s ‘There’s No Other Way’ over ‘Waste Of Paint’’s feral chorus. BUT ENOUGH WITH THE BUZZKILLING.
So long as teenagers exist, there’ll be eternal value in rock’n’roll this spectacular. It has no sell-by date. If ‘In Love’ lacks depth it’s because it’s too busy being wide-eyed with marvellous wonder, thrilled by its own discoveries. Even the hi-hats are epic. Peace are intoxicated by their own youth, and all that matters is that they’re happening NOW. “It seems as though your future is the past”, sings Harry on ‘Sugarstone’ before an escapist chorus about getting away from life’s pressures: “It’s not about a generatiaaann/It’s not about an educatiaaann”.
Point is: music can reflect the past and still be valid. Some may see it as history repeating itself, for others it’ll be brand spanking new. If you don’t think Peace are as rejuvenating as a wash of zesty orange juice over a crushing hangover then you’re beyond help. As Britain suffers from youth unemployment and economic crisis, our greatest currency is the chime of a golden tune. Peace have delivered 10 of them. So what if they’re a bunch of pirates and not pioneers?
This is their time.
Peace's core values are indie guitar rock, but with myriad disparate influences. The grumbling chords of “Follow Baby” suggest a sort of British Nirvana, the concluding snarl of guitar noise furnishing a punky exclamation mark; but it's set alongside the euphoric rocker “Higher Than the Sun”, where guitars weave woozily in cyclical, Byrds-style arpeggios, as the verses resolve into a surging hook.
Elsewhere, the languid groove of “Waste of Paint” recalls the baggy heyday of Happy Mondays and Stone Roses. On “Lovesick”, the yoking of weary outsider cool with pop melodicism brings to mind The Cure's lighter moments: you can imagine a younger Robert Smith singing lines such as, “I just want to be a fool, get lovesick with you,” so adeptly does Harrison Koisser channel that 1980s strain of blithe adolescent alienation.
Koisser's an intriguing songwriter, bringing an innovative eye to the age- old business of love through quirky images like “her hair it bleeds and bleeds for you” and “she's such a wraith, a lady of the sword” – the latter illuminating “Wraith”, a slick confection of propulsive guitar and keening harmonies. But meaning isn't just confined to the words of “Toxic”. “You're like a poison, you linger in my lungs,” sings Koisser, but the sense of dizzy discomfiture is as powerfully conveyed by the way the guitars seem to sway and totter. Likewise, the lightness of spirit in “Float Forever” is evoked by the watery vibrato guitar that buoys the song along. Both are evidence of a keen musical imagination at work, reinvigorating tired indie modes with fresh ideas, images and sounds.
Frieden auch in Deutschland:
10.05.13 Duisburg, Grammatikoff
11.05.13 Offenbach, Hafen 2
12.05.13 München, Kranhalle
14.05.13 Dresden, Beatpol
15.05.13 Hannover, Kulturpalast Linden
16.05.13 Stuttgart, 1210