Colorado songwriter mixes obscenity and emotional heft with huge pop melodies
Peace - 'In Love'
The Brummie dreamers have borrowed their favourite parts from music’s past to create a headrush of love and romance
Buzzkillers will use songs such as Brummie quartet Peace’s ‘Lovesick’ – about reckless abandon and skipping school – to lambast uncomplicated singers like Harry Koisser for cooing “I don’t wanna make no sense” over an updated version of the refrain from The Cure’s ‘Friday I’m In Love’. They’ll demand something more sophisticated – a unique way of saying “I love you”, perhaps. You can safely assume buzzkillers are no longer in love, detest romantic gestures and are cautious of hype bands with hippy names.
More fool them, because fans who’ve witnessed Peace touring 2012’s EP ‘Delicious’ or opening 2013’s NME Awards Tour believe they’re Britain’s best live band. The band’s gigs have been an appetising cocktail of trouble-free acoustic songs such as ‘Float Forever’ mixed with sprawling danceathons like EP highlight ‘1998’. So when people attack Peace it’s because of a supposed lack of sonic direction. But every live moment is immediate. Peace feel it all, every second. They’re so impulsive that at NME’s Awards Tour afterparty Harry proposed to his new girlfriend without warning. What a dreamer.
This spirit is committed to ‘In Love’ perfectly. Because here’s the life-affirming, naysayer-defying news: 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.
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