Peace – review

The Cluny, Newcastle

The young Birmingham-based band Peace have divided critical opinion with their debut album. They are seen by some as British indie's great hope. They made the BBC's Sound of 2013 list and have been championed by NME, which described them as "important", the music press's highest accolade; others call them derivative, and make unflattering comparisons to early-90s post-baggy bands. Both camps have a point. It's certainly strange hearing the "funky drummer" indie shuffle beat coming from floppy-haired young men, not fortysomethings on the reunion circuit. But with an audience too young to be familiar with the quartet's influences, the songs couldn't generate more excitement if they were delivered by Moses on his descent from Mount Sinai.

The critical rumpus overlooks a formidable live act with a sense of mischief. They begin here with a call-and-response routine of "Newc" and "Assle" which has the crowd dining from their palms. Frontman Harrison Koisser wears a boiler suit that makes him looks like he's done a flit from Kwik-Fit, but allows him to joke: "I can't get my top off when I'm wearing an all-in-one bodysuit." They shamelessly pilfer – from the Cure, Foals, Vampire Weekend and the Beatles' In My Life, but add their own big choruses, which gain much from audience participation.

With their lyrics being yelled back at them and chaos in the moshpit, they sometimes switch to a different gear, which suggests they're still finding their sound. Higher Than the Sun nicks a title from Primal Scream, but virtuoso guitarist Douglas Castle teases it into cascading psychedelic pop. Bloodshake outstrips its recorded version, a gigantic funk miasma that sees Koisser mock-threatening to set fire to his guitar while audience members pass over each other's heads.

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Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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