Oscar Wilde once said “talent borrows, genius steals”. That’s certainly been proved correct by Peace on their debut album In Love, leaders of the B-Town movement and one of the biggest hype machines in recent years (from their ‘WHAT THE FUCK’ billboard in Digbeth to their slot on the prestigious NME Awards Tour). If you put stock in originality, turn your nose up at bands who wear their influences on their sleeves and actually enjoy listening to The King of Limbs…then this album isn’t for you.

Peace are a band who clearly don’t want to be ground-breaking. They celebrate the ordinary, champion the mundanities of live and create brilliantly infectious (and, yes, slightly derivative) blasts of baggy-infused pop which leave you weak at the knees and wanting to propose to your girlfriend. When listening to their debut record, you really do fall in love. It will separate the snobs from the scamps and the pretentious won’t like it, but they will be the only ones missing out because In Love is the British debut of the year.

Opener ‘Higher Than The Sun’ (title pinched from Primal Scream) is already a live favourite and it explodes in a wave of psychedelic imagery, baggy drum beats and a charming, romantic Harrison Koisser vocal. In truth, the suggestions of them being Foals-meets-Wu Lyf last year were slightly premature. On record they are far harder to pigeonhole, occasionally coming across as The Stone Roses younger and more troublesome brother, at others appearing to be My Bloody Valentine doused in Robert Smith’s mascara. You may be starting to see a running trend here. Peace aren’t reinventing the wheel; they are unscrewing the wheel and running off with it down the road laughing their heads off.

A re-working of live staple ‘Follow Baby’ follows. The production is tighter, elevating ‘Follow Baby’ from decent debut single to bona fide colossal anthem. The song was written when Koisser was just 19 and you must salute his brazenness as he croons “we gon’ live forever” in a rare touch of Britpop nostalgia. ‘Lovesick’ is even better, with Koisser coming across like a love-addled teenager struggling with ADHD. “I don’t wanna go to school” he charmingly spits, before admitting he just wants to “get lovesick with you”. A touching sentiment from one of indie’s brightest young songwriters.

“Blow me like a floating feather” Koisser breathes on ‘Wraith’ (which you’ll have probably heard by now) and the result is sexy rather than seedy (a trick which Miles Kane needs to learn fast). ‘Delicious’ is a brilliant baggy-via-Africa piece of work which Albarn would be proud of. The drum beats are steady and building, with swishing guitars and Koisser telling you it will “never taste the same”. ‘Toxic’ begins with a pulsating riff which will find itself onto many football highlights reels before the end of 2013. The chiming guitars are reminiscent of ‘The Killing Moon’ but the lyricism of “you’re like a poison, you linger in my lungs” are more out of Cobain’s notepad. The track shows a naivety to Koisser, who seems crippled by the tribulations of young love and harboring a wistfulness of the good ol’ days.

That’s not to say there aren’t bad parts. ‘Float Forever’ runs a little close to a ‘Champagne Supernova’ pastiche whilst ‘Waste of Paint’ is unremarkable and would have been better replaced by either ‘Bloodshake’, the band’s debut single, or ‘Drain’ (a track on the deluxe iTunes version of the record). It doesn’t matter in the end, though, as they leave you with their finest track. ‘California Daze’ slaps you about and lifts you up and not since ‘A Certain Romance’ as a climax to a debut album been so uplifting. “Go and watch the pretty girls in town when you’re feeling kinda down” Koisser says, but no-one is feeling down by the end of it. The romanticism in lyrics like “she tastes like sunlight” is nothing but heart-warming and as the track fades away, you feel that only a madman would swap a ‘California Daze’ for a ‘Breezeblocks’ or a ‘Cough Cough’. Sure, the music is derivative, but it’s also visceral, emotive and raw.

Peace come out of In Love smelling of roses. They may not make the 10 o’clock news anytime soon or resonate with scores of people like Arctic Monkeys did in 2006, but they truly matter. Buzzkillers will suggest that the band are dull, backward and stagnant. Truth-tellers will say that they are alive, young and in love. They are influenced by all the great guitar bands of the last twenty years and they rework and repackage them into their own unique sound of daydreaming. It’s no OK Computer, but who finds intellect that sexy, anyway?

Rating: 9/10

Discover Peace: Official // Facebook // Twitter

By James Daniel Rodger
Dance Yrself Clean

Music Blogs