Peace, Happy People, album review: Indie’s new kings show the power of positive thinking

It’s like listening to peak-period Oasis, but with the snarls replaced by smiles

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The Independent Culture

With Happy People, Peace more than fulfil the promise of their debut, In Love, cementing their position as Britain’s most appealing indie band in a flow of great riffs, chipper melodies and wry romanticism. It’s like listening to peak-period Oasis, but with the snarls replaced by smiles.

As before, echoes of classic Primal Scream/Stone Roses psych-rock underpin the grooves, which lope and stride infectiously. The bassist Sam Koisser has that McCartney gift of harnessing melody and propulsion, while the guitars of his brother Harry and Doug Castle duck and dive around the rhythms of “Happy People”, “World Pleasure” and “Lost on Me”. The latter, a tribute to a girl who’s “chemically so heavenly”, is an indication of the techno/house influence that lends their indie pop its adhesive quality. Likewise, the baggy “Gen Strange” has a riff that slides and slouches around its descending chord structure.

Not that they’re restricted to one style. The jaunty “Perfect Skin”, with a self-deprecating Harry Koisser hankering to be “as gorgeous,  as stylish, as rich” as some object of desire, is punctuated with apt grunge chording on the choruses; while the regretful resignation of “Someday” is conveyed through strummed acoustic guitar and shimmering electric guitar washes. Koisser has become an astute and idiosyncratic lyricist, by turns sardonically damning a money-obsessed world “where bitcoins pay for beatings, and diamonds pay for girls”, and tenderly salving a romantic wound with the philosophical “Maybe all this happened so the both of us could grow.”

Despite fronting pop’s current party-animal kings, he exhibits an engaging uncertainty and positive attitude that is utterly charming, best expressed in the opener, “O You”, where a warm wash of strings and cascading guitar runs accompanies his simple desire to “change the world that we live in… to make it better for your children”. An aim achieved, in its own small way, with Happy People.