“This isn’t quite it, but In Love It does serve up some fine reasons to believe that somewhere down the line these guys could deliver something of a genuine classic…”
Peace | In Love
Towards the end of 2012, as the usual slew of 2013 prediction pieces started to get published, an odd thing happened. A general consensus started to slowly emerge that, after a few years of rumours and whispers, this was to be the year that guitar music came back to the centre of the the UK’s musical discussion after an apparent few years looking on from the sidelines. Much of this seemed to be fuelled around the excitement of two groups in particular: South London’s Palma Violets, and Birmingham’s Peace. Both home to four aluring young men without a dub wobble or sparkly synth in sight, the former got their debut LP on the shelves a little earlier but it was met with sighs of dissapointment – that all too familiar feeling of the hype machine killing a band before they know who they are. Already, not even three full months into the year and those predictions start to once again look a little silly.
Enter Peace’s debut album, In Love. Much like the Violets, there isn’t much here that will appeal to those looking for a reinvention of the wheel. Unlike the Violets however, you can rest assured that this one roles straight and true from start to finish. Across its 10 tracks In Love begs and borrows from some of the best British bands of the last 20 years. The groove-based ‘Waste of Paint’ is grounded in the baggyness of the early 90’s, right down to its faux funk guitar. ‘Follow Baby’, with its crushing, grungy guitars, at times recalls both Placebo and Manic Street Preachers. ‘Lovesick’ manages to sound like the greatest single from the mid-noughties boom that we somehow didn’t hear at the time. The real charm of In Love however is that after listening to it, you won’t really care.
There are two key reasons for this. The first is front and centre. Across the record’s ten tracks Harrison Koisser’s voice reveals itself to be a fantastic instrument, and one that is often able to elevate these songs to a higher, better place. The fragility on display across ‘Float Forever’ is arresting, as is the trippy, mini-psych delivery of ‘Sugarstone’. The second reason is Douglas Castle’s guitar playing. Warm and intricate, it means there is often something surprisingly interesting going on beneath Koisser’s vocals.
It is a shame that throughout In Love, the songs never quite sound as distinct as the band – who have a penchant for sparkly tops and ladies coats – look. This album doesn’t introduce any new ideas to rock n roll’s rule book or break ones that are currently in there. It does, however, serve up some fine reasons to believe that somewhere down the line these guys could deliver something of a genuine classic. This isn’t the boom some were imagining, but Peace come out of it well on top.