Having released the strutting Bowie meets Prince single Money and the swirling rock guitar Duranish Lost On Me last year, PEACE now follow up with their much anticipated sophomore album, Happy People (Columbia), sticking with the familiar but adding some extra polish. The apparent sentiment of the title is perfectly captured in opening number the baggily shuffling O You where, over a tumbling melody line, Harry Koisser asks “are you just trying to change the world that you live in?” However, as the angsty title track with its bubbling synth line makes clear, there’s a certain irony in there too, Koisser wondering how you get to be one since he’s “a bad computer, slow to load” who sometimes feels “like we’re made out of stone”, while, driven by a weedy synth and with big fuzzy chorus flourishes , the chugging Perfect Skin has him wishing his was a little more gorgeous and that he needs “less of me in me and more of you in me”, self-loathing tongue firmly in knowing cheek.
But, whether he’s being serious or not, the sometimes downcast nature of the lyrics are certainly not matched by the music, Koisser channelling a sneery Ray Davies as, surrounded by guitar fireworks, he sings “the creators of man were calm, kind and nice, but nature demands that we fuck, eat and fight” on the swaggery I’m A Girl. They bring the noise too on the psych-funk groove of Gen Strange where George Harrison hangs out with the dance incarnation of Primal Scream, the latter’s influence also evident on the percussion driven rhythms of album closer World Pleasure which features Koisser rapping with a casual ennui.
Elsewhere they disarmingly show their softer side as the address loneliness on the dreamy doo wop shaded 60s ballad sway of Under The Moon and, arguably the album standout, the tenderly acoustic break up number Someday (which also includes a line about perfect skin) where starry nights shimmer over cosmic shores. With the deluxe version adding an extra value for money eight tracks, if you were ever doubtful that they had a life beyond the brief B-town hype, now’s the time to give Peace a chance.
Produced by and variously featuring Eddy Morton on slide, lead guitar, bass and percussion , GARY O’DEA releases a double A side single free download as a taster for his new album, due this May on GoJo’ Music/New Mountain Music.
Build It Like A Rock, which features backing vocals from members of Birmingham's Clarion Singers Socialist Choir, is a slow burn Martyn-esque bluesy acoustic protest number written in 2007 out of frustration with the political parties and now released to support the None Of the Above campaign while, from a year earlier and with Raj Sohata on Dohl and Tabla and Morton providing sitar effects, acoustic strummed Take The Money And Run also has a political streak to the lyrics and a 'hit your volley hard and true’ chorus that references Baggies football legend Tony ‘Bomber’ Brown. The tracks are available at http://garyodea-gojomusic.bandcamp.com/