10 Feb 2015

Peace / Happy People (album review)

After the release of Peace’s debut album in 2013, the hype has grown and grown for their follow-up. The announcement of Happy People and the release of the singles only made everyone more excited. Their excessively pop-y songs were not for everyone, but come a few weeks before the release day and a few more singles released, suddenly everyone is back on the bandwagon and remembering just how talented this band really are. 

O You kicks off the LP and from the get-go, you realise that Peace have not, and will not, lose their individual sound. Harry’s voice has such a hypnotic quality to it and the Doug on the guitar continues to work his magic, creating a sound that could only be Peace. Sam and Dom hold the whole thing together and you are reminded immediately that no matter how bizarre this band are that they can still write perfect pop-songs. This is present in nowhere more than the next two tracks. Gen Strange and Lost On Me are indie-pop anthems. They’re not Peace’s strongest tracks by a long shot, but they are fun, catchy, dance-y and Lost On Me is pretty much the pop song to end all pop songs. (let’s not forget the video, which I reviewed in full here) 

Perfect Skin follows and it’s a summing up of all the insecurities a teenager feels, but instead of being dark and depressing, it’s fairly uplifting. And if Harrison Koisser feels as insecure as we all do then there’s no hope for anyone and absolutely no point in worrying about it all. This is a song to sing your heart out to and it’s a real highlight for me. The title track of the album is a definite stand out for me, but in a weird turn of events this feels like one of the more forlorn songs present on the album. It’s called Happy People, on an album called Happy People, but the lyrics are heart-wrenchingly sad. Peace have a habit of writing about important topics beautifully, but this is something often overlooked because of their pop style. This is another reminder that they can write meaningful lyrics, whether they are backed up by happy melodies or not. 

Someday is the next song and this is another highlight for me. As I previously mentioned, Someday is the song that really reminded me of just how talented they are. It's Harry and his guitar and the lyrics are wise beyond his young and eccentric years. Money, into I'm A Girl, into Under The Moon is truly a combination like no other, with the latter out of those three being my personal favourite from the whole album. It's inspired by Elvis and you can clearly hear these influences which makes it one of the most unique, yet stunning songs going. 

The ending of Happy People comes in the form of [Blondie's] Rapture, meets [Blur's] Parklife, meets one of the funkiest bass solo's going. Sam Koisser is a true talent and the groovy rhythms coming from Doug and Dom with Harry's sort-of-rapped lyrics over the top make World Pleasure one of the very best indie-pop songs in recent years. Despite it replacing 1998 as their live set closer, it still manages to spawn utter chaos, especially Sam's solo. 

To attempt to compare Happy People to In Love would be illogical, because the styles are so different. In Love was an indie-rock band finding their feet and testing genres to see what worked and what didn’t; Happy People is a slick, and incredibly feel-good pop album. It shows just how far Peace have come and it is an album to be celebrated. 

Rating : 16/20

(written by Poppy Marriott)