Record review: Peace – Happy People (2015, LP)

peace happy people

English indie-rockers Peace are an infuriating bunch. Their 2013 debut was a promising affair; all early-90s influences and shiny approaches to love, life and happiness. On their Australian tour they proved themselves to be a powerful live act, capable of raining red-hot riffs on punters the length of the east coast. Why, then, is this second effort so excruciatingly dull? Is it the crippling sameness of the vast majority of the 18 tracks? The draining middle-class angst peppered heavily throughout the lyrics? Or just simply, the lack of a good tune or two? The combination of these things doesn’t leave much to be admired, except perhaps groovy single ‘Lost On Me’ and the rougher ‘I’m A Girl’; songs that provide hope that it’s only difficult-second-album syndrome that’s stuck its nose in here. Everything about the painfully atrocious ‘Someday’ and singer Harrison Koisser’s misguided suburban rapping on pseudo-funk sonic-fart ‘World Pleasure’ provide low points, while most of the rest blends into itself with nothing left but blandness. “Try to change the world you live in, oh you, try to make it better for your children, oh you,” he sings on opener ‘O You’ – and that, people, is your cue to dry retch, while closer ‘The Music Was To Blame’ pretty much sums up the whole album just by its title. Being a ‘big’ band is great and being a cult band is better, but unfortunately Peace are neither of these; for now they’re stuck somewhere in the murky middle, filed under “meh”. (Columbia)

For mX

Live review: Peace + Millions + The Creases – The Zoo, Brisbane – 19/9/13


I recently interviewed Peace frontman Harrison Koisser and he told me how much the band was looking forward to coming to Australia for the first time. “I’ve heard the lifestyle is different but the ideas are the same. It sounds like something we can get along with. I want to feel it,” he said. Tonight, in Brisbane’s best venue, the young English quartet will get a taste of that feeling, which probably involves a lot of heavy sweating in their leather jackets while blasting out a series of more-than-decent indie-rock tunes.

As I make my way from the traffic lights outside The Royal George towards the welcoming stairwell at The Zoo’s entrance, gladly escaping the god-awful blare coming from the Kaliber Lounge, the four lads of Peace are ambling along just in front of me, all shabby Converse and stick-thin legs, looking nonplussed and generally pretty cool with life, and like me they grab a spot to watch the support acts. Local indie-shoegazers The Creases are first up tonight, and they play a set full of heavily-distorted guitars, plenty of fuzz all round, shared vocals between members, and a bit of jangly pop thrown in for good measure. With support slots coming up soon for some bigger bands, these guys are worth keeping an eye on.

Next up is Millions, who have a different but equally good vibe, and a higher level of musicianship. The audience responds well as the band work through some new and unfamiliar songs throughout the set, and despite there not being much crowd interaction – as with all the performances tonight – the band, and particularly guitarist Ted Tillbrook’s impressive riffs, keep the top quality tunes coming; a highlight being ‘Stone Roller’ from last year’s Cruel EP.

Peace have recently toured with Mystery Jets, The Vaccines, and Palma Violets, so it’s tempting to lump them all together by describing their existence as some sort of resurgence in English indie guitar bands, but in truth, they play a style of music that has been around the block several times. Their sound is almost like a Brit-pop revival with more than a hint of psychedelia, and probably quite apt for this place and time, given that a large percentage of the Australian music-loving community is pissing their pants about Blur making their way Down Under very shortly. In saying that, they are a talented bunch of guys who aren’t into rehashing riffs, sounds, or styles from any previous era, and can put on enough of a show to make you forget about all the blog buzz and hype surrounding their debut album. Such attention has probably done them a disservice, as they’re a kick-ass live band first, bunch of pretty indie-boy pin-ups second. The quartet launch straight into their up-tempo set, only pausing to say hello before fifth track ‘Float Forever’, which Koisser introduces as “a slow one”, and the big choruses of ‘Toxic’ have heads nodding venue-wide, after he begins the track with just his solo guitar and voice. ‘California Daze’ is still probably their best song and would sound amazing at an outdoor summer festival, as it does in a small venue, and despite the ‘next big thing’ tag a large section of the music media has tried to force on the band, tonight’s gig is definitely a triumph of substance over style.

Interview: Harrison Koisser of Peace


Self-confessed upstarts, the four young lads that make up Birmingham quarter Peace are headed to Australia for the first time. Frontman Harrison Koisser explains how the group are looking forward to sharing “our ideas”.

It’s odd that no other band has claimed the name Peace before. How did you arrive at the name?

I think it was staring at us in the face the whole time; and then when we forgot about choosing a name it became very obvious.

What has the reaction to your debut album ‘In Love’ been like so far?

Very positive. Some older people like to make a point that we sometimes sound like something they knew when they were younger, but I think that’s happened to every band ever. It just feels like your old dad nagging you to do the washing up, though. We’re very positive people most of the time and the majority of things we hear we abide with.

You recently toured with Miles Kane and Palma Violets. Any good tour stories?

Many. It seems so long ago. We had a good lark with all the boys. They’re all diamonds.

Which band member cares most about how they look on stage and in band photos?

I know you’re supposed to say you don’t, but I think all of us do. You’d have to be a total slob to not give a fuck when there’s a couple of thousand people watching or when there’s photographic evidence going around. Not in like a huge way, but you know what I mean.

September will mark your first trip Down Under. What are you most looking forward to about coming to Australia?

I’ve heard the lifestyle is different but the ideas are the same. It sounds like something we can get along with. I want to feel it.