Birmingham’s previously ailing music scene is going through a bit of an indie revival at the moment. The city where Ozzy and co learnt their stuff has produced three of the hottest bands of 2013: Swim Deep, Jaws and Peace.
All are hot on the NME’s radar, and all are coming to a festival near you this summer, but it’s Peace who strike the first blow, with the punchy release of their first album. And it’s a record drenched in happiness, perfect for the warmer months of the year, a great accompaniment to any lazy day. But let’s start from the top…
Opener, ‘Higher than the Sun’, is a euphoric way to open a debut album, the type of song that could fill any band and listener with the confidence to continue onwards. Sure it may rely heavily on a soaring chorus and a great little guitar riff, but it’s just a taster of what is to come.
‘Follow Baby’, sounds a bit like Nirvana melded together with psychedelic-funk, a strange mix, but the falsetto backing vocals make this a one-two punch start. Then we move onto a tribute to the Cure, with ‘Lovesick’. Lead singer Harry Koisser doesn’t sound particularly like Robert Smith, but the influences are definitely there in this emo-rock tune.
‘Float Forever’, is a slight comedown from the opening trio, a slower, dreamy song, that just drifts around a little bit aimlessly. ‘Wraith’, is a bass-heavy, song, that represents the middling of the album, and one that smacks ever so slightly of filler for my liking, at one stage threatening to build to an almighty crescendo, but never really materialising.
Raising the standards of the album back to its great start is, ‘Delicious’. A catchy, shout-a-long chorus arrives with a screeching riff that is allowed to go its own way. Followed up by, ‘Waster of Paint’, echoes of 90’s Madchester bands The Happy Mondays and the godfathers themselves, The Stone Roses are evoked. It doesn’t sound like a straight rip-off whatsoever, just the sound is reminiscent, which is nice!
‘Toxic’, unsurprisingly not a cover of the Britnery Spears ‘classic’, is a so-so song, neither good, nor bad, it’s a slice of hazy rock that gets better once it kicks into gear. ‘Sugarstone’, is a chilled out song, with Peace sounding like they are more than in control of things despite the ‘lost control’, lyric. Ending on a high is, ‘California Daze’, even more relaxing than its predecessor. You get the feeling that they’ve stepped off the gas for these last few songs, but the impressive range of styles means that future releases look promising, Peace aren’t your average identikit indie band.
Overall it’s a perfectly good album, sure it has its lows, but bearing in mind it’s the first solid effort from the band, good points far outweigh any negatives. Friends, but soon to be rivals, and fellow Brummies Swim Deep, release their first major offering in July, and who truly knows who’ll ‘triumph’ in terms of critical praise, but one thing for sure, is that Birmingham’s music scene is the hottest in the UK right now.