Since bursting onto the scene in 2012, the Birmingham quartet of Peace have gone from strength to strength. A highly successful debut album, ‘In Love’ (2013), was followed by a number of festival slots as prestigious as the main stage at Reading and Leeds in 2014. When their second album was announced for 2015, anticipation began to grow and ‘Happy People’ does not disappoint one bit.
‘In Love’ set the foundations for any future success the band will have, with its anthemic and catchy songs. However, with many of the songs being released as highly successful singles; it could be argued the flow suffered ever so slightly. This is not the case with ‘Happy People’. The build up to the album release saw the likes of ‘Money’ and ‘Lost on Me’ make their way onto Radio 1’s daytime playlist as the band started to gain recognition in more mainstream forms. These two songs lead the way for the rest of the tracks on the album.
Songs such as ‘Money’ show a different side to Peace. The band sticks to what they do best but add another layer to their songs on ‘Happy People’. ‘Money’, in particular, is powerful from start to finish. Lines such as ‘money, do you need it? Do you eat it when you’re hungry? Does it taste good?’ show how 4 guys from Birmingham can develop these strong views on the role money plays and materialism. This is perhaps a different route to songs such as ‘Follow Baby’ and ‘Lovesick’ which appear on their debut album.
However, this is by no means the underlying theme of the album. Songs such as ‘I’m a Girl’ and ‘O You’ maintain the distinctive sound of Peace, yet arguably have less meaning behind the lyrics. Both songs show the fun side to the guys, and they are two of the best songs on the album in my opinion. ‘O You’ is one of the catchiest songs on ‘Happy People’ and sets the precedent for the rest to follow.
The one song which goes against the trend Peace are setting in their albums is ‘World Pleasure’. Like ‘Drain’ in their debut album, this is the one time the band break the 4 minute barrier, and the result is something special. It starts in typical Peace fashion with Harry Koisser’s vocals accompanying the backdrop the band are making their own. However, three and a half minutes into the song it all changes. For the next three minutes it is all about the instruments. Koisser takes a back seat as the rest of the band (Samuel Koisser, Dominic Boyle and Douglas Castle) take over. If there is one sign of a future change in sound for the band, it can be found in these final three minutes of the song. It has a funky undertone to it as the bass takes centre stage, which will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day.
From being virtual nobodies in 2012, Peace have stumbled upon a unique formula which puts them on the brink of becoming something very special in the music scene here in the UK. Their range is displayed on almost every song throughout ‘Happy People’ and songs such as ‘World Pleasure’ show something very different. The band stick to what they do best, making these anthemic tunes which will be stuck in your head for days to come and when you eventually forget them, you’ll want to have a listen all over again. In the best part of 3 years, these 4 boys from Birmingham have set a certain level which budding musicians around the UK need to match or be left in their wake as their success inevitably continues to grow.
By Aaron Brudney