Peace are one of several bands from Birmingham – along with the promising Swim Deep and Jaws – that look set to have a big year in 2013. The quartet have been receiving a great deal of critical attention since they burst onto the scene last year with their first single, the thrilling Follow Baby. Peace backed up that release with their debut EP Delicious, which further suggested that they would be ones to look out for when their first album dropped.
To add to the expectation, Peace were also nominated for the BBC Sound Of 2013, with suggestions that they were the biggest ‘guitar band’ hope of the year. Their great start to 2013 was cemented by taking the prestigious opening slot on the annual NME Awards Tour alongside Palma Violets, Miles Kane and Django Django. However, with so much anticipation ahead of their debut album, entitled In Love, it would be easy for Peace to falter at the final hurdle.
Yet, other than a dodgy album cover, In Love is a confident and assured debut album. From the very off, Peace show exactly what all the fuss was about, with opener Higher Than The Sun demonstrating the band’s ability to write infectious choruses. The swarming distorted guitars and Harrison Koisser’s nonchalant vocals intertwine throughout the verse, before the song really explodes on the anthemic chorus. It’s followed by that instantly addictive Follow Baby, which was re-recorded for the album. The song still sounds as gritty and eclectic as the original, with the gloriously beautiful chorus still intact, as Koisser sings: “Follow Baby/ we’re gonna live forever.”
Yet Peace are more than one-hit wonders, as shown by Wraith – the second single from In Love. The song has elements of Foals about it, especially the restless, funky guitar riff, which almost sounds like a lost cut from Total Life Forever. Then there’s the expansive piano-led chorus, as Koisser croons: “You could be my ice age, sugar/ lay me down and make me shiver.” Elsewhere on the album, Peace flaunt with Britpop. It’s something that can quite easily turn sour, but Peace manage to pull it off.
Lovesick is one such example, with a chorus that revels in a catchy ’90s-esque hook and youthful, carefree lyrics: “I wana get lovesick/ I wana get lovesick with you.” Meanwhile, Waste Of Paint has more than a touch of Oasis and The Stone Roses about it, with bloated, swirling guitars and a strutting, anthemic chorus. If there was a criticism about Peace’s debut album, though, it would be that the band do seem slightly unsure of exactly what sound they want to achieve.
In fact, In Love never lets you feel like you have the band pinned down, dipping in and out of various different genres. This is proved by the tropical sounds of Delicious, a song that initially sounds quite baggy and chaotic until a jagged guitar riff bursts in on the chorus, while Float Forever demonstrates a softer, more reflective side to Peace. It’s a welcome break and one that captures the fragility in Koisser’s vocal, as well as the band’s impressive lyrical ability.
The album closes with the impressive Sugarstone and the soaring, epic sing-a-long of California Daze, two songs that confirm Peace are destined for big things. In Love may not be perfect, but there is no doubt that the four-piece have a lot of potential. While this debut album is made up of many different elements, they are all well executed and the final result is never less than accomplished. It’s easy to dismiss bands that receive so much hype before they have even got going, but with Peace, the early signs are definitely promising.