Out to change the world through art, Peace’s much awaited second album is the new manifesto for the modern teen. Singing the words that mere mortals struggle to articulate, the new kings of indie say a big ‘f-you’ to tradition. Bold and triumphant, Happy People is a glorious album that radiates youth and charisma.
Establishing itself primarily on a wave of poppy euphoria, opening track ‘O You’ embraces all things youthful, with Harrison Koisser boldly telling listeners to “try to change the world that you live in”. The band’s attempts at re-shaping the world through positive thinking and flared trousers don’t stop there however, with later tracks ‘Money’ attacking all things capitalist with a hypnotic guitar riff while an album highlight ‘I’m a Girl’ ferociously rips up gender roles. Koisser’s assertion “Do you feel like a man? ‘Cause you’ve got blood on your hands?” perhaps being one of the most upfront attacks on masculinity in modern pop. An album that initially appears harmless, on closer inspection however reveals itself to be driven by a deep-rooted resentment at society, spitting blood at the establishment.
Always confident, Peace never shy away from tackling the unspeakable. Combining elements of funk and elements of Britpop should not work in any universe, but somehow seems a natural progression from their 2013 debut In Love. ‘Gen Strange’ has a swaggering confidence that would sit perfectly next to Oasis’ debut single ‘Shakermaker’, while ‘Someday’ may as well be renamed ‘AJakeBuggAppreciationTrack’, because let’s face it, it really is a Jake Bugg appreciation track. While Koisser’s roughed voice may not be as well suited to this sentimental outpour, it is a welcomed insight to the band’s emotional side. Peace prove that beneath their never-ending energy lies four Midlands dreamers, subject to the same human heartache as the rest of us. They might be quickly becoming the kings of modern indie, but that they’re not quite invincible – yet.
‘Under the Moon’ sees the band attempt to make a high school prom-song. With the perfect beat to take your crush by the hand and boldly waltz them across the room as you sweetly whisper “what can I do to make you feel it like I do / and be happy living under the moon?” into their ear after years of trying to catch their eye in the lunch-hall. The song perfectly juxtaposes with album closer, ‘World Pleasures’, being a bold ending to a triumphant album. Possibly one of the most experimental tracks on the album, it looks to combine music from all genres into a six-minute epic. A boisterous bass line coupled with some famous Gallagher-style tambourine shakes and laid-back rapping, it is a song that oozes funk from every corner until it picks you up in a two minute instrumental section that looks to squeeze out of you any inner funk you never knew you possessed. Combining elements – which if attempted by any other band would lead to a chaotic mess – Peace attack a blank canvass with an artillery of paint, only to find that they’ve recreated the Mona Lisa. Or something like that, anyway.
However, what is most inspiring with Peace is the sense how they are entirely comfortable with who they are. Never a band to shy away from the outrageous, they won’t let expectations from stopping them from doing what they want. Fuck stereotypes, stick it to the man. In a world where we are constantly reminded of one catastrophe after another, Happy People looks to inject some much needed happiness into the world. While the outrageousness of the album may look to isolate anyone who hasn’t been part of the Peace bandwagon since their arrival on the Btown music scene, it is an album that will delight fans and anyone with a desire for inexcusable fun. And, after all, all you need is Peace, right?
Words by Juliette Rowsell