Having heard Peace’s 'Delicious' EP, I was really looking forward to their debut album. It seemed the early hype was justified as follow-up single 'Wraith' also initially impressed with its spindly rhythms and exuberant chorus, leading me to consider them as one of the bands to watch in 2013. However, there was a nagging worry that the group’s songwriting was limited to facsimiles of other bands, in 'Wraith'’s case - early Foals. Unfortunately, this fear has been realised with 'In Love'.
I know I won’t be the only reviewer to say this but 'In Love' is not only derivative, but painfully so. They’re not the first band to borrow from other artists – Nirvana famously took their quiet/loud dynamic from Pixies - but too many of the songs on 'In Love' are slavishly in thrall to the groups they have influenced them, lacking any new twists. The song titles display a similar lack of imagination, such as 'Higher Than The Sun' and 'Lovesick', and even the band’s image feels like a carbon copy of early Manic Street Preachers.
Amid the mediocrity, there are a handful of decent songs. Both 'Follow Baby' and 'Toxic' have catchy refrains that will inevitably soundtrack many a student indie night, although both tracks become a little tiresome. Better are the final two tracks on the record - 'Sugarstone' and 'California Daze', which are both slow-burning tracks that builds into anthems and feature some impressive guitar work. The latter is the highlight of the record and the main reason I’d tipped them. It’s one of those tracks that has an instant familiarity with its classic melodies that lead you suspect it surely must be a cover?
In many ways, 'In Love' reminds me of Blur’s debut 'Leisure', which was also far too close for comfort to its influences, in particular the ‘Madchester’ scene, but there was enough in both records to suggest that they could one day outgrow their influences. Like Palma Violets, Peace’s knack for a sing-along chorus means they shouldn’t be dismissed yet and hopefully their career isn’t as short as the ‘Baggy’ era that most inspired them. But sadly, 'In Love' is yet another exhibit in a long line of British guitar bands that have failed to deliver on their early promise.
'In Love' is available to purchase from amazon.co.uk. Find more info at peaceforeverever.co.uk.