Peace – Happy People Review

Peace are back with the follow up from their debut LP with Happy People. It’s an album that just has to be an improvement on the forced and cheap flamboyance of the half-baked In Love from 2013 and fooled no one with a memory beyond 2005. Whilst the album has suggested a degree of refinement which is what they need at the very least, expectation isn’t great for what they might produce with this effort. It’s reception will have far more personal ramifications than any general musical impact for they are in need of producing something less transparent and more meaningful in order to halt the gathering sense of ridicule that they are beginning to generate.

With ‘Money’ you get a glimmer of substance and something towards creativity. I am only judging this from their own standard and not that of other artists, but there is tangible improvement here. The most noticeable is Harrison Koisser’s vocal, which is his own and not some put-on slur to be accepted by the hipsters. It easy and comfortable in it’s own skin and much more narrative of lyrics that are not trying to be something they are not. Musically, you can still pick out elements of Arcade Fire and Bowie and even Arctic Monkeys most recent guises albeit to a lesser standard, yet they are blended and mixed for a more hybrid sound of which the jangling guitars are largely ditched for a more solid rhythm with much more depth. ‘Lost On Me’ features clean rhythmic hooks as opposed to the predictable jangling riffs and serve a purpose along with Harrison Koisser’s vocals. These have improved by leaps and bounds now he’s dropped the slurred charade and projected his natural vocal. The transition from verse to chorus offers up a change of dimension rather than simply an instrumental alteration even if the chorus screams cheese filled pop. The lyrics are still pretty comical at times, but I guess it gets the younger kids into them. It’s by no means my favourite track by a millions miles, but there is a lot less to be bemused with than before so consider this song as the epitome of not bad.

‘World Pleasure’ falls upon a far lower standard. The track’s initial steps are exactly what you expect. The jangling, loose riffs and mis-matched percussion, the ‘rap’ or spoken verses are lifted straight from ‘West End Girls’ by The Pet Shop Boys and there is a slight sun kissed feel evocative of ‘Get Lucky’ from Daft Punk, yet both are far poorer versions. As is the blatant Madchester, Britpop and Noelrock replicas as the song pulls out of the instrumental. From all of this, it’s virtually impossible to take a scrap of substance from it. The title track has a fabric of instrumentals that are a flat-lining musically from what they’ve done numerous times before and by now it simply washes over you in a monotonous wave of jangling and that irresistible urge to churn out that vocal slur. ‘Perfect Skin’ has a gentle sonic tinge before launching into a Britpop flashback that certainly leaves an indelible mark in your head and the sing-a-long factor just about makes up for the lack of innovation and yet again, the questionable lyrics. For ‘Gen Strange’ see 1994. It would seem whilst the singles promised a little glimmer of something behind the façade or at least a sense of them trying, the result throughout the album is one that would only be successful if the last three decades had been erased from our minds. Unfortunately for them that hasn’t happened for many this album will be erased from our minds pretty soon as well.

Peace – Happy People = 5/10

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