Peace tread funky new ground on their sophomore LP
Released 9th February
Columbia UK Records
Call me cynical, but I approached this album with some dubiousness after hearing its first single ‘Money’. Despite being enjoyable musically, writing a song critical of rich greed on a golden Gibson Les Paul reeks of disingenuousness to me, especially being written after making their millions off the debut. Thankfully, Peace delivers far more impressive content than ‘Money’ on their second album Happy People.
The album still mainly retains its upbeat element from the band’s debut, In Love. Opener ‘Gen Strange’ with its uplifting sound will have you in a good mood before the end, until the completely jarring song transition before the dark ‘Happy People’ begins. Dominic Boyce employs some impressive drum work to the song however and it works with decent harmonic backing vocals which ultimately makes it an enjoyably fresh departure from their usual sound. Although it does have the cringey lyric “I’m a bad computer, I’m slow to load, I disconnected from you when I learned to love”—try not to cut yourself on all that edge, Peace. ‘I’m a Girl’ criticises traditional masculinity, questioning “do you feel like a man? Because you’ve got blood on your hands?” The track is easily the hardest on the album, employing some shoegazing and industrial guitar twangs to marry the ironically blood-pumping macho rock to the subject matter while undoubtedly being a future crowd-pleaser. Peace also delve into some tongue-in-cheek territory with ‘Perfect Skin’, written as though they’re angsty, acne-ridden teenagers who’ve just lost a crush to the high school bully. Other highlights are ‘Lost on Me’ and ‘O You’, making for enjoyable funk tracks with a 70s disco influence.
However, towards the end, Happy People runs out of steam a little, with ‘Someday’ doing very little to seem like it’s anything more than the obligatory acoustic track on the LP. ‘Under the Moon’, while a decent track when taken by itself, lilts like a retro-style break up song and feels out of place to the rest of the album’s sound. However the final track ‘Wold Pleasure’ raises the mood by blending 70s funk and hip-hop in the same manner as Blondie’s ‘Rapture’, serving as a worthy finale.
Happy People manages to avoid recycling the same work as their debut like many other failed sophomore albums do by implementing some new influences like funk into their work, making for a worthy follow-up LP.