PEACE – In Love (Columbia)

This week’s NME headline ‘Peace At Last’ pretty much sums up my feelings about the long, long wait we’ve had for the debut album by this great new band. I’ve been collecting their Youtube posts since last August, and have been banging on to anyone who will listen that they have to hear this Birmingham four-piece. The ‘California Daze’ EP alerted a few more people to how good they were, and now the album has dropped and everyone can hear it. Even more amazing is that of the fourteen tracks on here, ten are brand new songs that I have not heard before. The first of these is ‘Higher Than The Sun’, and the band could be leaving themselves open to criticism of being a throwback to the 80’s when the first song shares a title with a Primal Scream track. However, it is a good opener and sets out their stall, giving the listener a chance to hear what they have to offer. I have always liked ‘Follow Baby’s grungy riffs and baggy vibe, and it sounds just as good in the context of the album, while ‘Lovesick’ is another good rocker, with pretty basic lyrics welded to a catchy chorus. ‘Float Forever’ is actually the first ballad that I have heard from the band, and they pull it off pretty well, even if the dark lyrics belie the gentle tune. New single ‘Wraith’ is actually one of their oldest songs, and used to be more of an experimental piece until they welded on the chorus, and now it is a fitting introduction to the band for first-time listeners. ‘Waste Of Paint’ has had the most criticism, with nay-sayers revelling in the fact that it pinches the tune from Blur’s ‘There’s No Other Way’, but then not being the greatest Blur fan I can’t actually hear it! ‘Toxic’ was the last song written for the album, and actually comes over as one of the best – great tune, catchy chorus, nice riffs – everything you could want from an indie guitar band. The album closes with ‘California Daze’, and they couldn’t really leave that off as not only is it one of their best songs, it is a brilliant track full stop. The deluxe version of the album also includes two bonus tracks in ‘Scumbag’ and ‘Bloodshake’, both of which slot effortlessly into the record as a whole. OK, let’s get the criticisms out of the way. Yes, they are indebted to indie rock of the 80’s and 90’s, Oasis and The Charlatans in particular, and yes, you can hear Madchester, baggy, The Stone Roses and bits of Britpop in here, but I love all that stuff, and so I love this album. No band ever appears unique and fully-formed. You have to be influenced by the music you grow up with, and as long as that music is good music then hopefully you will also produce good music. Peace have done just that, and given me an album that I am going to play to death. And if it also prompts me to dig out my old Charlatans albums and give them a spin then that’s just a bonus.

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