Birmingham’s finest Peace returned this month bringing funky basslines and psychedelic disco madness to the masses. Teamed up with new tunes that have made me brutally abuse the re-play button, they are charting 90s nostalgia and naughty noughties all in one. Harisson Koisser struts and drips over phrases never redeemed cool, until you find yourself singing “I’m a girl I’m a girl I’m a girl” in a beanie and an ‘I Forgive Myself’ t-shirt (erm, that’s never happened…).
Convincingly groovy, Happy People showcases some major dance-anthems – I challenge you to listen to “World Pleasure” without a single toe-tap. They are natural song-writers; blending genres of dance, indie and pop right under our noses, catching us at our most vulnerable, helping us to move parts of our bodies we didn’t think possible. Can’t beat a piece of Peace it seems.
Album opener “O You” merely scratches the surface of an otherwise much deeper, thought-riddled album, however it acts as a good indicator of the band’s ever-growing ability to channel different auras within their music whilst showcasing a brilliance in lyrics: “Hot lover, chemically blessed, Soul brother, spiritual mess, Hypnotizer, not another six string sympathiser”.
The follow up to 2013’s debut album In Love really starts on “Gen Strange” which immediately offers a slice of iridescent pop, flourishing around the anxious thoughts of a lost generation and drawing upon a Britpop feel. The paradoxical “Lost On Me” is cocooned with optimism and a glittering chorus whilst displaying lyrics of un-fulfilment: “I’ve an empty room inside this tune…”.
The song is a divine display of instrumental un-folding teamed up with a memorable chorus that grabs your attention from the word go – much like new single “World Pleasure”, a multi-layered song which is focused on swaggering bass lines and an ever developing beat. Providing a hypnotizing blend of alternative rock and infectious pop, the song snakes around cool grooves and hints at a Primal Scream influence.
“Under The Moon” flirts with 60’s blues – disarmingly poetic and incredibly vivid at the same, it is a personal favourite of mine. It is slow-burning and offers a rare slice of self-acceptance in an album seemingly full of contempt. The song’s twinkling ideology seduces you into another feeling whilst asking “What can I do to make you feel it like I do and be happy living under the moon?”. The record has a schizophrenic quality, for example, in contrast to the almost acoustic “Someday“.
“Blue” shows the band heading off in an R&B direction with Koisser showing a higher vocal range than usual, highlighting just how good Peace are as musicians but also hinting that they are still trying to figure out for themselves just exactly in which direction they would like to progress. However, the whole album is redeemed particularly effective when targeted at a young and developing audience who possibly don’t know where to fit themselves in modern culture. The self-conscious “Perfect Skin” provides reassurance to an un-worthy state of mind whilst male stereotypes are rejected in “I’m A Girl” – underlying a more serious tone to the aura of buoyancy given in the record. A comforting arm around the young generation.
Although not as kaleidoscopic as In Love, Happy People shows a developing band exploring different dynamics and genres, giving a very satisfying record. It masks social issues in a well-constructed way, delivering a much more mature feel. As a fan, one may be more inclined to draw upon the more memorizing songs of the debut album such as “California Daze” or “Bloodshake” when asked about the bands most prestigious work, but Happy People has nonetheless satisfied the cravings of yearning fans. The album is out now via Sony Music, purchase it here.