Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Peace, Happy People: Album Review

The title is a bit of a red herring, few albums open with a statement as poetic or poignant as 'Maybe it's me that's changed or the TV that's changed'... followed by 'The 90's were cool I have no doubt, The 80's were better I've heard all about'. Peace have been blighted by comparisons to 80's and 90's bands since their early demo's. Happy People is full of nods to the past, but the lyrics could only have been written by someone of this generation. Harry Koisser has matured into being the most insecure rock star since Justin Young. Yet there is an intelligence to Happy People that The Vaccines have never managed.
From the start the music feels more low key than 'In Love'. 'O You' is backed by an orchestra, but mostly avoids that 2nd album trap of shoving more instruments on everything.  It has a funky, off kilter feel, that sticks throughout the rest of the record. In the 10 track running time 5 of those songs are total funky bangers, 'Lost on Me'  and 'Money' are both incredibly funky, Yet are countered by the balladry of 'Under The moon' and 'Someday'. The latter of which sounds like one of one of Oasis's more laid back songs. Harry's lyrics about loneliness backed by a slow, slide guitar solo throughout. Half the album's budget was blown on 'World Pleasure', and it's lush orchestration. It's not as immediately lovable as most of their songs. Yet their ability to sound epic and funky at the same time (while rapping) is pretty astounding. In only half an hour, Happy People covers more ideas, sounds, genres, and touchy subjects than some bands do in their entire careers. For all it's nods to the past, Happy People is entirely 2015. A world where 'Bitcoin's pay for beatings' which will resonate with a generation, raised in front of blue lights, though terrorism, health scares, and Tory reigns, in the same way that Definitely Maybe did for the kids of  the 'cool' 90's.


Bonus Tracks
One of the few complaints I have about 'In Love' is that The definitive deluxe version, felt less vital and exciting than the stripped down 10 track one. Happy People avoids this by putting the bonus tracks after the main album. The remaining 8 songs are much weirder than the main album. They cover many styles of music, and are very experimental, yet feel weirdly throwaway next to the main record. Yet 'Flirting USA' and 'Love me' are great songs in their own right, yet maybe not as great as 'Perfect Skin' or 'Gen Strange'. If Peace had recorded a few more, then Happy People could have made a great double LP. The fact that for an extra £2 you get a whole extra albums worth of songs, just goes to show how Peace reward their Fans.


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