Album Review: Peace – Happy People

Happy People

peace-happy-peopleReleased 16th February 2015

Words: Gary Feeney

In a time when bands are releasing their music out in to the world via the wonders of social media and Soundcloud within seconds of recording in their bedroom, it feels like a little bit of a novelty when a band appears via the old-fashioned route of serving a few years’ apprenticeship to learn their trade before making their breakthrough. This is, however, the career path of Worcester foursome Peace, who formed back in 2009 but only began to attract mainstream attention following a 2012 NME feature which was followed by debut album Wraith in the spring of 2013.

Peace have continued to build a prodigious reputation since then and following a number of sizeable live shows including main stage slots at Reading and Leeds and opening for the Libertines on their 3-night stint at Alexandra Palace, the band led by brothers Harry and Sam Koisser now return with their second studio offering, Happy People.

Peace’s sophomore album kicks off in a bright fashion with O You; a jaunty, foot-tapping number which seems to fit the blissful feel band and album’s monikers. The tone of Happy People is set by its opener not just by the upbeat tempo but also by Harry Koisser’s lyrical nod to the “90’s being cool…the 80’s being better”; there’s a definite Brit-pop mixed with Baggy vibe across the piece, particularly in tracks like Gen Strange and I’m A Girl.

If there’s a recurring lyrical theme on Happy People, it seems to be one of a general uncertainty on behalf of the protagonist which first appears on Perfect Skin and Kossier wishing, amongst other things that he had perfect cloths and a muscular build; on first listen, the chorus just seems a little bit too angst-ridden, although in the song’s defence the lyrics blend in to the tune after a few listens, although it remains one of the (relatively) flatter efforts on the album. It’s a temporary dip though, with the title track coming straight after: this seems to be crying out to be a single, with driving verses and soaring choruses one can easily imagine gaining much airtime over the summer.
Happy People is not all up-tempo anthems though, featuring as it does two excellent acoustic numbers in Sometimes and Under The Moon which bookend two of the albums most confident songs, Money and the previously mentioned I’m A Girl. The first of these is a bold, swaggering affair which sees Kossier take aim at the modern “greed is good” culture, asking if “you can eat it when you’re hungry” of the subject matter whilst the latter is a Blur-esque romp featuring scuzzy guitars and explosive choruses.
If I’m A Girl is a strong nod to the aforementioned “cool 90’s”, then the closing two tracks are their homage to the 80’s. World Pleasure is a sprawling, groove-laden epic that makes you want to worry about your melons being twisted whilst wearing a bucket hat and flares and hurtles in to Lost On Me after a sweeping instrumental outro. The closing track is a full-on indie dancefloor hit-in-waiting, carrying on the 80’s vibe with a splash of mid-00’s popsters such as Mystery Jets to produce a frenetic finish to the album that is impossible to sit still and listen to.

Much is made of the “difficult second album” cliché, but Peace have shown no such issues by producing a strong, accomplished offering which will surely see their burgeoning fanbase continue to grow, especially with another summer on the festival circuit looming. After all, who wouldn’t argue that more Peace is needed in the world?


Watch the video for Money here:

One Response to “Album Review: Peace – Happy People”
  1. garyfeeney says:

    Reblogged this on General Smuts.


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