On hearing the news of ‘Happy People’ last year, I was curious as to how Peace’s second album would compare to their technicolour debut ‘In Love’. It’s safe to say, they’ve sprung back with a frustrated, hopeful cocktail of teenage angst and escapist zest.
The album’s opener ‘O You’ sports exotic syncopated rhythms and effervescent harmonies, templating the anxious tone of the album. “Your children are growing up, your children have slowly started learning, twisting, turning inside out” wails Koisser with a baggy disaffection for our time and how “the 80’s were better, I have no doubt’’. His band’s love for the 80’s and 90’s evidently resonates throughout the album with triumphant revivalism.
‘Lost On Me’ takes on a fizzier, ardent and infatuated tone with lyrics that The Stone Roses would be proud of. As ethereal harmonies layer over Koisser’s voice in the chorus, “You’re chemically so heavenly”, ‘Lost On Me’ immediately becomes a potential summer anthem. However in ‘Perfect Skin’ we’re faced with a futile calling of the archetypal nonentity. This baggy, euphoric track is definitely a favourite of mine on the album with its self-conscious, uncomfortable lyrics:
“I need less of me in me and more of you in me”.
Seemingly, the track is central to pinpoint the rest of the album’s emotions as in a feral attitude of wishful thinking as Koisser croons the actions of the whole generation “I wanna, I wonder, I worry, I wish”. Whereas ‘Happy People’ holds much more loose, flacid shades that could easily be mistaken as post-punk The Cure “Sometimes I feel like we’re made out of stone…where did all the happy people go?” This track seems to tie the album together with its optimistic title juxtaposing against Koisser’s melancholic, frustrated voice.
‘Someday’ seems to take the place of ‘California Daze’ with homage to Jake Bugg’s achingly sentimental tracks ‘Someone Told Me’ and ‘Someplace’. The lyrics attempt to ameliorate a failed relationship “Maybe all this happened so the both of us could grow” and I’d be surprised if anyone managed to get by this track without allowing a tear to drip down their cheek or feeling a little wistful and forlorn. ‘Money’ gloriously experiments with catchy riffs and sultry, echoed harmonies of “Find me something new to chew on” as Koisser asks the generation a pretty solid, required question
“Money, do you need it? Do you eat it when you’re hungry? Does it taste good?”
Last but not least, the more undomesticated vibes of ‘I’m A Girl’ that I previously reviewed as a track of the day – the Birmingham quartet confront the ‘macho’ image that the media are currently promoting and how the masculinity standards are way too harsh and surreal to uphold “Do you feel like a man cause you got blood on your hands?” and how “Nature demands that we fuck, eat and fight”.
I’m a big fan of ‘Happy People’ and Peace’s confidence to confront social issues and voice their opinion; and alongside some cracking tunes and exuberating riffs, what can go wrong? 4/5