"What's so funny 'bout"...ah, nevermind
Review: Peace – In Love
Published on April 3rd, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Ah, an album of songs about being young, hedonistic and all those other things that the NME will no doubt be working themselves into a lather over, as sure as Cribs is Cribs and Japandroids is Japandroids. As a generation tries desperately to define itself with a succession of distinctly underwhelming bands, let’s at least be grateful for such small mercies as the odd decent tune emanating from it all – and In Love, the debut album from Worcester quartet Peace, certainly weighs in with its fair share.
Opening track “Higher Than the Sun” is not a Primal Scream cover, rather a pleasing sort of cross between Stephen Malkmus and Built to Spill, and ensuing recent single “Follow Baby” just about manages to cram enough smart touches into its three minutes to assuage the cloyingly ‘now’ sound of it all. “Lovesick” is the first track to hint at a grotesque future in which Peace shed all their good aspects and follow the money, gratingly predictable serving of stadium rock anthemry that it is. Lines like “I don’t wanna go to school / I don’t want to take the call / I just want to be a fool and get lovesick with you” fail to inspire, to put it kindly, but then “Float Forever” goes on to confuse matters with the far more agreeable (slack grammar notwithstanding) likes of “If there’s dew drops in the darkness, they’re hiding from your eyes”.
Rocksucker was inclined to give Peace a chance but they’re a polarising bunch: there’s the lyrical dichotomy as highlighted in the previous paragraph, there’s the apparently graceful songwriting that upon closer inspection relies perhaps a little too heavily on relative and parallel minor chords…and then there’s the small matter of Harrison Koisser’s singing voice, which treads a fine line between Gaz Coombes-like mischief and keening Kooks-i-ness (guess which one we prefer). The Coombes element wins out on “Delicious”, which also bears other touches of class the likes of which you might associate with Supergrass, while “Waste of Paint” manages to overcome its apparently significant debt to “Hey Dude” by Kula Shaker with moments of lateral thinking that, for whatever reason, refuse to permeate other parts of the record.
“Wraith” reminds Rocksucker of Foals and Two Door Cinema Club, which unfortunately is to say that it bores us. A spot of moodiness mightn’t be such a bad thing if a) it wasn’t so predictable, and b) the lyrics didn’t resort to dumbed-down posturing like “you could be my ice age sugar”, and the dull ‘atompsherics’ continue into the overlong, identikit indie disco fodder of “Drain”. Frankly, Peace are much better when they’re trying to sound like Pavement.
But wait: In Love concludes with the satisfying pair of “Toxic”, not a Britney Spears cover but a stomping showcase for some delightfully wonky lead guitar, and album highlight “California Daze”, which to be fair is very good indeed. So, will Peace elaborate on their strong points and come up with the goods next time round? Or will they take the Killers/Kings of Leon route into glossy, artistically strangulated FM radio/Q Magazine rock? Place your bets now!
Rocksucker says: Three Quails out of Five!
In Love is out now on Columbia. For more information, please click here to visit Peace’s official website.