Single Review – Peace – Power

The epitome of vanilla Indie Rock are back with their follow up on 2015’s Happy People. Their second album was not as well received as their debut and you got the sense that a burgeoning ‘Indie 3.0’ had died an uneventful death in the space of two years. Now will they adapt or defiantly plod along with jangling riffs and slurred vowels? With their new single ‘Power’, you get the sense it is the latter. With the same rhythm sections of three and five years ago along with the same lost lyrics, they attempt to strike a expectant and triumphant feel in some attempt to believe their own hype. One notable improvement since their debut has been that their songs have been produced and presented a lot better, but you can only polish a piece of rust so much… we await a bright idea from Peace.

Owen Riddle

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

Single Review – Peace – Lost On Me

 

Listen: Peace reveal new single 'Wraith' with Arctic Monkeys' producer

Peace have released a new single in recent weeks. A third from their upcoming second studio album to be release later this year. The other two have been pretty mixed affairs. ‘World Pleasure’ may as well have been called Perspex as it was so easy to see through, but ‘Money’ offered a glimmer of light. A hint of progress and originality. Now we have ‘Lost On Me’ which is quite alright to be honest. The rhythmic hooks as opposed to the predictable jangling riffs have purpose and Harrison Koisser’s vocals 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 of the year 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.
 

Single Review – Peace – Money

Peace unveil their first proper single from their upcoming second LP and as you’ll know, I’ve had some harsh words to say about their sound and approach but I also wanted them to simply be creative. With ‘World Pleasure’ you could immediately see a worrying amount of taking and stealing from other tracks without any input from them which was the harrowing story of In Love for me and many other before me when you factored in the lyrics too. With their new track ‘Money’ though; you get a glimmer of substance and something towards creativity. Don’t get me wrong. I’m 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. It still isn’t perfect and by no means the best track I’ve heard this year by any stretch, but hey! I actually enjoyed this track and I’m praying that their upcoming LP is more evocative of this track and hopefully even more creative. Bet you weren’t expecting that were you?

Image from  counteract-magazine.com

STAND UP AND BE COUNTED – PEACE, THE 1975, DRENGE, ROYAL BLOOD, SWIM DEEP, JAWS, THE ORWELLS, WAVVES, FIDLAR, BASTILLE, SPECTOR, TOM ODELL AND THE LIKE OF THEM.

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“They were desperate to say that “oh I went to this great café. It was really authentic. The cutlery was all dirty”” – Jarvis Cocker

“Psychedelia has become too much of an easy tagline. Really the term should be about exploration” – Tom Cowan

” I don’t see a story unfolding with bands because it is gap year music. It seems like somebody has said, ‘I think I’ll do an album then my dad will give me a job in the accountancy firm’.” – James Dean Bradfield

“As soon as it sounds fine, I’m on to the next thing” – Damon Albarn

“I know there’s bands that’ll write something like The Smiths and they’ll go ‘Oh it sounds like The Smiths’, but we’ve got to not make it sound like The Smiths” – Noel Gallagher

“I think a lot of people study the rules too much and don’t know how to be creative” – Julian Casablancas

“That’s really scary because it’s hard to see how music and art can continue to develop or challenge itself within these new, very commercial frames.” – Karin Dreijer Andersson

I feel that the floodgates have well and truly opened for the hipster and I now feel like I have a good enough grasp of it’s ‘culture’ to make an educated comment. In their short existence, the Hipster has made a mockery of Indie music and left it a laughing stock. The new breed of fans and bands seem to have largely split themselves into two new camps. Desert Rock and Psychedelic Rock. Yet for some bizarre reason they believe it’s ‘scene’ or whatever to talk like an L.A gangster… or gangsta as they would say. God I dread the day when social historians look back at 2014’s Twitter timeline to see tweet after tweet stating “These nu vibez got me trippin blud! The guitarist is so rad ‘n’ such a bae” For me it just shows how music is a backwater here. It is all about the image and the trends and that is true for the ‘artists’ and as a consequence the fans. After they cottoned on that The Black Keys were getting attention, but mainly after the sound of Arctic Monkeys last two LP’s; big, bulky, distorted guitars have been all the rage. Stand up Royal Blood, Drenge, Circa Waves, Wavves, The Orwells. You show me the difference. Psychedelia and Neo-psychedelia have been the other targets. Again, they cottoned on The Horrors or Tame Impala were getting attention and now you have The Horrors desperately trying to disassociate themselves from the new context of the term Psychedelic. Stand up Swim Deep, JAWS, Peace etc. Show me the difference. Amongst other things I’ve noted is that I listened to ‘Rattlesnake Highway’ by Palma Violets genuinely thinking it was The Vaccines. Show me the difference. That ‘totes indie’ jangling riff is a common trait of Peace and The 1975 as well as the way both vocalists sing with that lethargic slur and how stagnant and devoid of character their lyrics are. Can someone please draw a dividing line between Peace and The 1975? They are one in the same to me. What makes it more humorous is that fans of each think the other is killing music. I guess hypocrites never recognise their own reflections. Bastille and Tom Odell put on such a vocal style that makes them appear allergic to their vowels in a not too dissimilar fashion to Peace and The 1975. The almost endless amount of times a band will blatantly rip someone off is comical too! You can get all worked up about One Direction’s army of writers stealing classic tracks but listen to ‘World Pleasure’ by Peace. Would they still feel so strongly about it then? In fact they will take pride in the fact it sounds like Pet Shop Boys or The Stones Roses, Happy Mondays, Daft Punk etc. etc. Nirvana is a common victim along with QOTSA, The Clash, Pulp, Bowie, Suede, Manics, Oasis, Blur, T Rex, MBV, The Beatles, Stones etc. etc. all tainted by the dim minded artists of the hipster generation. It’s a quick fix when you’d rather be picking out your tie-dye, leopard print and fakes glasses then writing your own music. It is a crime in equal measure of hiring teams of writers for your songs. Music and it’s advancement loses out on both occasions. It’s easier to stay hip and just copy off the innovators rather than emulate them in being innovative yourself. It’s easy to say you are ‘influenced’ by someone if you are just ripping them off. But then again this time last year their fans were probably influenced by Ellie Goulding or Example and so will not know the difference.

Do not fear though… the innovators of 2014 are there if you slash your way through everyone trying to be different while being one in the same. The sheer inventiveness of St. Vincent, The bold and brave production of Beck, The pulsating rotations of Wild Beasts, The dark, electronic currents of The Knife, The echoed chambers of Warpaint, The sonically charged, expanded sounds of The Horrors and so many more. You don’t have to follow the hipster cycle of destruction. Just follow what sounds new or interesting. Don’t let another genre become as toxic as Indie has become.

 

“Psychedelia becomes too much of an easy tagline. Really, the term should be about exploration.
Read more at http://www.nme.com/news/the-horrors/76237#HHm4sxYz5rFzXSpP.99
“Psychedelia becomes too much of an easy tagline. Really, the term should be about exploration.
Read more at http://www.nme.com/news/the-horrors/76237#HHm4sxYz5rFzXSpP.99
“Psychedelia becomes too much of an easy tagline. Really, the term should be about exploration.
Read more at http://www.nme.com/news/the-horrors/76237#HHm4sxYz5rFzXSpP.99
“Psychedelia becomes too much of an easy tagline. Really, the term should be about exploration.
Read more at http://www.nme.com/news/the-horrors/76237#HHm4sxYz5rFzXSpP.99

Single Review – Peace – World Pleasure

As their loyal fans squirm in expectation of their follow up from 2013’s In Love which was so decidedly average that it even resulted in me aligning with The Guardian’s view of it; they are in the process of finishing the second LP and unveiled the initial track from it entitled ‘World Pleasure’. Last year The Guardian basically implied they were enjoying their 15 minutes of indie, NME fame. But to be reasonable it was a success in that they have developed a loyal albeit small fan base to feed off. Seemingly those who haven’t listened to everything they sound like but a fan base nonetheless. They’ve probably got to aim higher now though. Fellow hipster counterparts The 1975 didn’t get the indie seal of approval from NME, but managed a bigger fan base and some chart success. We can only assume Peace are aiming for one or both of those things. 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. But despite all of this you can take a slight scrap of substance away from it. Something that so far puts them ahead of The 1975 by a nose. However, they are still making no contribution to musical progression and have been completely found out with this track. I genuinely hope their second LP proves me wrong but if this is anything to go by, it might only make them a little more tolerable.

Image from counteract-magazine.com

Swim Deep – Where The Heaven Are We Review

There seems to be a micro music scene going on in Birmingham at the moment that journo’s have slapped the title of B-Town upon. It’s largerly passed me by apart from me humming ‘lovesick’ by Peace on the Wednesday after seeing them on Jools Holland. But I think it’s great a movement can spring up and thrive in this day and age. Swim Deep are often referred to as Peace’s mates but having successful friends doesn’t create success as a given. Well… it didn’t do the Rolling Stones any harm though. Apparently Swim Deep are those sort of hipster types who wear band shirts and can’t name any songs from them which leads to the sort of default twitter rant that clogs up my timeline on a daily basis. But who am I to judge them? As usual i’ll judge them on their music rather than pre-conceived notions. I do think that they are plugging a sound hybrid that not many others do. Sort of a psychedelic pop with the productions and techniques of modern psychedlica with some art rock elements but with more pop like vocals and lyrics. It’s a bit like someone poured sugar over Tame Impala or The Horrors which doesn’t sound like a bad recipe.

‘King City’ has a instant hook and eagerness about it as soon as the echoed bass drum joins the synth and the bass completes the instrumental picture. It’s steady and sure of itself yet is damn catchy and rythmic. Austin Williams whispy and naive vocals have free reign due to the echoed effect of the instrumentals that whip up a lot of room to allow Austin’s vocals to flow freely above them. The backing vocals are so simple yet are placed perfectly like in any good pop song and have their own job too and don’t just follow the lead vocal and create more of a wash of sound that the synth breaks out of to offer up some melodic chords. It’s just a straight up indulgence of sugar coated yet refined pop music and is perfect for summer. No it really is. ‘Honey’ too starts off with a build up of sound, leading into a “wooo” and synth chords to hook you to the tune whether you like it or not. The bass gives the song some depth against the other floating and dreamy elements. The guitar riff mimics the synth well and though there is clearly a bit going on, it isn’t a mess but sort of a general wash or wave of sound that allows again for the vocals to work and this shows that the production is pretty sound in that sense. ‘The Sea’ starts off again with that refined sound with just a subtle riff and the vocals and then shoots into a sort of Madchester sound with the varied percussion and the shifting bass lines. The synth’s intertwine around this too and creates less of a wave of sound in which this time all the elements have a more definitive role. Austins vocals are recorded in the same fashion as the other two singles and so is individual to the music which creates a happy comprimise again. ‘She Changes The Weather’ differs from this too and is sort of the ballad of the song if there is any. Again they love to have that build up of sound in their intro’s but this one is a little more subtle. The instumental elements are seperated well and actually sound quite minimal in the verses with the bass driving the song with the synth hovering above it and the percussion feeding rythm to it. Lyrically the song is a simple love song and is delivered cunningly with the echoed and dream like vocals and the wave of sound in the chorus to create a dreamy and loved-up affair.

One problem with the album is that they’ve layed out their stall too early in a way and left no suprises in the track listing. Just little added extra’s. Some songs like ‘Francisco’ do stand up with the singles to some extent but in general it’s a single driven album. You won’t find anything new or fresh in the track listing which is a shame. But they counter act this slightly by spreading out their singles in the track listing which will give you a better chance to enjoy those songs inbetween the singles. In saying that too, it’s only their debut album. Perhaps showing all they’ve got straight away allowed people to get more of an idea of their sound and you know what you’re gonna get in the album from the singles as well. I think they can go on to do good things. They have the creativity and the general skills to pull out different sounds and area’s of light and shade. Apart from that it’s just a feel good album you should enjoy. That was the theme they were going for and they’ve got it down exactly.

Swim Deep – Where The Heaven Are We = 8/10

Images from mamacolive.com / hasitleaked.com