The awesome foursome return with their eagerly awaited second record
Single releases of ‘Money’, ‘Lost on Me’, ‘Gen Strange’, ‘World Pleasure’ and most recently ‘I’m A Girl’ previous to the release of Happy People ignited exciting prospects for this record and it certainly hasn’t failed to deliver in its completed form. After the overriding success of Peace’s debut record In Love (2013) which arguably propelled the band to the forefront of the current Indie music scene, some may not have expected the new record to meet or even exceed the standards of the first one. However, Koisser x2, Boyce and Castle have conjured up a selection of 10 (or even 18 with the highly recommended deluxe version) songs that show a mature progression from In Love but still maintain the effect of impeccably catchy riffs and choruses on a select bunch as well as Koisser’s familiar passion-enthralled vocals.
The record in its entirety offers the listener several sides to Peace and even sides to them that have never been heard before. In many ways the first track ‘O You’ is a suitably introductory start to the album, edging the listener into Peace’s renewed style with a song that has a fairly steady yet enticing melody. It then comes alive in the chorus, even if it maintains a sombre yet hopeful tone, one which is consistent within some of the songs on this record. As we go into ‘Gen Strange’ the fluidity and rhythm increases as the album begins to take the listener into a more lyrically memorable direction with ‘how do you do it (x3)… so good’ resonating in their ears from that moment onwards. This is only short-lived however as ‘Lost On Me’ bursts onto the scene with its melody that struggles not to provoke shapes being cut and this is accompanied by its unbelievably catchy chorus that will surely be echoed by anyone subjecting their ears to it. And, if you’ve had the pleasure of checking out the video for this song (which you can do so below if not), all you’ll have in your mind is a an image of the 4 of them doing a constructed dance routine all in white, even taking it across main roads, disrupting family picnics and through a landfill site with no care in the world.
The 4th track on the record, ‘Perfect Skin’, can be put in the same bracket as ‘I’m A Girl’ with how it’s personalized very much so to lead singer Koisser. This song makes comparisons between him and his lover in the verses and then this passion I’ve spoken of is clearly evident in the chorus in Koisser’s voice embodying himself as a female almost. This is accompanied by heavier use of guitars and then into the solo later on in the track giving it the aggression and ruthlessness that is quite contrasting to the song tonally but perhaps represents Koisser’s frustrations. The title track could perhaps be regarded the most controversial and ironic song on the album due to its somber and slightly depressive tone, contrasting to the title’s suggestion of positive connotations. It is as though Koisser is longing for these seemingly scarce ‘happy people’. The nature of the guitar melodies and riffs are almost Foals-like creating a cold, saddening yet still rhythmic mood. As ‘Someday’ comes next, the ‘low’ mood of the album is still lingering as this song represents the side of Peace that has been rarely heard with its acoustic, stripped back sound. Koisser’s lyrics are the main focus of the track, as well as a similar mood created to the track that comes before it. The sincerity and gentle nature of Koisser’s vocals are complemented by the delicate and soft guitar that comes in after the first verse.
As the album enters into its final stretch, the ‘low’ part is most definitely diminished and ‘Money’ brings back the kind of groove provoking effect that ‘Lost On Me’ has earlier on. ‘Money’s distinctive riff is arguably the most memorable out of all of the tacks, with this song being a certified crowd-pleaser. The added element of when Koisser hits the higher notes accompanied by Sam Koisser’s bass which oozes funk gives the track that added edge and even a touch of swagger. As the record begins its climax, the most recent single ‘I’m A Girl’ continues in the same fashion as ‘Money’ except with harder hitting guitars mixed with a bit more vigour and intensity. This song is perhaps where Koisser’s feminist side reaches its pinnacle and the passion and aggression within his lyrics and vocal delivery epitomise this. Koisser has even said that this track was inspired by Emma Watson’s (a firm favourite of Harry’s) ‘HeForShe’ speech but one thing’s for sure, this song won’t shy away from inciting raucous moshes amidst live shows.
‘Under The Moon’ is the second to last track on the non-deluxe version of the album and the track works in the same way as ‘Someday’ since the listener feels as though it’s just them and Koisser’s vocals. His voice almost assumes the tone of loneliness and emptiness but still has a somewhat endearing aspect to it, making it a very pleasant three and a half minutes of a song. It’s a gentle interlude between the ferocity of ‘I’m A Girl’ and then the what turns into a relatively rampant ‘World Pleasure’. This track very much suits its placement as the last track on the record due to its longer than average length and the turning point in the song which brings the album to an uplifting, unified ending almost. The orchestral-type intro which then continues throughout as a back-seat sound gives the song it’s relaxed, low lying tone but then this accompanied by the bass which is key to the track as a whole as well as Koisser’s vocals contribute to its steady but still danceable vibe. As the bass takes centre stage at what I referred to as the turning point, the song uplifts itself with Koisser’s choral-style vocals as though there is more vocal back-up behind him giving the resolution to this song and the record a grand conclusion.
Although the record is provisionally 10 songs long, the deluxe version offers 8 extra tracks of which ‘God’s Gloves’, ‘Imaginary’, ‘Saturday Girl’, ‘Fur’ and ‘The Music Was to Blame’ are my personal highlights although each and every one of these songs make the record stronger as a whole offering different aspects to Peace’s sound. In particular, the last track of the 18, ‘The Music Was to Blame’, seems as though it has Bowie influences and even 80s dance elements to it (less so on the chorus) with Koisser’s vocals which suit it applicably.
This record is out NOW and you’d be foolish not to spend some of your hard-earned money on it if you haven’t already, whether it’d be the 10-song standard version or the longer 18 song deluxe for an entirely worthwhile more expensive price. It’s everything that their first record In Love offered and a whole lot more with an added bit of Koisser charm and sass as well as an adequate dosing of ‘Boycie’ banter. If there are happy people in this world then the majority of them are surely going to be the lucky ones buying this record.