With In Love, Peace have achieved something quite difficult; while writing familiar and youthful pop music, they have produced a record which is, at the same time holds some originality, and is enjoyable and joyous to the core. It was with a bit of worry that the record opened with ‘Higher Than The Sun’, which begins like it could be any track used on a Smirnoff advert – indie-happy, but generic and forgettable. However, once the chorus kicks in, it’s obvious that this is not the case.
It’s an album full of fantastic choruses, which really tap into that heart of pop music by being catchy but still retaining musical integrity, written with feelgood riffs and vocals. They give the album a real energy, and the lyrics are of a higher quality than most music of the type, which relies on memorability and simplicity to sell records. ‘Wraith’, for example, hits a high on the line “you could be my ice age sugar, lay me down and make me shiver” – not exactly your typical love song. Even when the vocals are less imaginative, like the repetitive nature of ‘Lovesick’, the music remains endearing and energetic, and carries it through to the stronger numbers.
Among the big chorus chords and more typical indie progressions, there’s some real musical inventiveness. For example, ‘Follow Baby’ echoes My Bloody Valentine with it swash of distortion, the riff on ‘Wraith’ is infectious and grooves with real swagger, while the outro of the song fades out from a club synth into a reggae blip-track, and ‘Delicious’ is based around a strange electronic beat surrounded by atmospheric guitars. Peace are clearly open to influences, and this allows their music to tinge their sound with more interesting elements throughout the record while producing an accessible and familiar overall sound.
Moreover, the song structures follow the pressures of every song and the breaks and big builds are well fitted to drive the songs towards their choruses, where the energy really lies. Although after multiple listens this very chorus-driven approach seems to reduce each song to a build-up, a wait for the climax, the music’s youthfulness pulls this off, and the fantastic slower tracks, ‘Float Forever’ and ‘California Daze’, provide an effective counter-balance. It’s these tracks, particularly the first, which really showcase the bands songwriting ability. They’re characterised by interesting musical development and down-to-earth but poignant lyrics such as “Stand atop the Eiffel in your mind, if you’re not happy wearing denim, you’re a devil in disguise” and “she tastes light sunlight, and she’s always going to be there in the back of your mind”. The slower pace gives them a chance to develop some ideas, let the musicians play with emotions other than HAPPY and show that they can write inventive music outside of big pop singalongs. It’s particularly interesting that they end the record with one of these tracks – they want to showcase the range of their talent, to show that they’re not just another indie-pop band who’ll be gone next week with the next issue of NME.
In Love is a great album. It’s nothing strikingly new, but it shows that there’s still room for some energy in the scene, and they’ve written some fantastic songs. Here’s hoping they take it further with the next album and don’t worry too much about staying trendy.
A shorter version of this review is also published on oxfordstudent.com