Peace review – impressive indie-pop power

Heaven, London
Resistance is futile as the mercurial Midlanders sweep aside questions of authenticity with effortless passion and roguish charm

Since their 2013 debut, mercurial Midlanders Peace have become the Marmite of the music world. But on the day their second album, Happy People, is released, the debate over their indie authenticity and shameless pop pilfering dies in the face of a furious moshpit, teenage adoration and the spectacle of a band determined to seize the mainstream attention they crave.

It’s the quartet’s imitative sound that’s got them in trouble and for a visual aid, look no further than frontman Harry Koisser. His artfully ruffled hair and hip-skimming black leather jacket are textbook Libertines, but the striped flared trousers that flap around his ankles are straight out of Jarvis Cocker’s Britpop dressing-up box. It’s a look that shouldn’t work, but like the cheeky, cheesy shuffle of opener Higher Than the Sun and the band’s dense cover of Binary Finary’s trance hit 1998 – which they turn into a noodling prog-blues opus – it does so brilliantly.

Peace sustain an impressive power throughout a 90-minute set that’s full of ambitious new songs accompanied by strobe lights and flickering visuals. The band’s tight, focused sound is at once familiar and strange, which, together with the sweat rising from the hormonally challenged sold-out crowd, makes for an intoxicating atmosphere. “Is everybody all right?” Koisser asks. “Does anybody need a towel? A glass of water?”

A hose might be a better idea as fans rush at each other during anthems-in-waiting such as Lost on Me, Perfect Skin and I’m a Girl, while the lighters come out for the twinkling hymn California Daze, which Koisser dedicates “to all the ladies. And the fellas.” His bassist brother Samuel ventures centre stage to steal the spotlight during the sprawling World Pleasure, but ultimately it’s the cascade of Peace’s perfect pop choruses – delivered by Harry Koisser with effortless passion and roguish charm – that makes resistance pretty much futile.

Epic Studios, Norwich, 12 and 13 February. Box office: 01603 727 727, then touring


Betty Clarke

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Peace – review

They may be still finding their sound, but indie hopefuls Peace certainly generate a lot of excitement in their audience, writes Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson

16, Apr, 2013 @4:29 PM

Article image
The Bohicas review – sparky indie rock’n’roll
With their bluesy riffs and hurtling drums these Essex boys get you moving, but don’t go looking for hidden depths or variety

Malcolm Jack

29, May, 2015 @12:25 PM

Article image
NME Tour review – indie new kids carry the flame
Clean Cut Kid, Peace and Will Joseph Cook are on the bill as a night of robust tunes and bellowed choruses revives glimmers of the guitar glory days

Dave Simpson

15, Mar, 2017 @11:28 AM

Article image
Lush review – pithy indie chroniclers stage a confident comeback
After a 20-year break, Miki Berenyi and friends return fresh and inspired with new songs every bit as catchy and well crafted as their 90s hits

Sam Richards

12, Apr, 2016 @12:00 PM

British Sea Power – review

Viola and keyboard player Abi Fry made a good contribution as British Sea Power's first female memeber in this show at the Barfly, writes Caroline Sullivan

Caroline Sullivan

14, Jan, 2011 @11:01 PM

Article image
Wolf Alice review – ice-cool comeback from indie shapeshifters
The Londoners draw on punk and psychedelia but never lose their tight pop sensibility as they unveil tracks from their new album

Dave Simpson

17, Aug, 2017 @10:29 AM

Article image
Stewart Lee's All Tomorrow's Parties review – the indie connoisseur's festival
Despite organisational problems, acts such as the Fall, Roky Erickson, Sleaford Mods and Ex-Easter Island Head made the seaside festival the place to be for fans of the avant garde, esoteric or outsider

JR Moores

18, Apr, 2016 @12:32 PM

Article image
End of the Road festival review – expertly curated indie rock
American upstarts St Paul and the Broken Bones deliver a stupendous set, while indie darling St Vincent triumphs, writes Laura Barton

Laura Barton

01, Sep, 2014 @4:00 PM

Article image
Mac DeMarco review – ramshackle indie pop with trouble afoot
There’s devastation and self-doubt beneath the goofy exterior as the Canadian stoner-rock prodigy moves into more melancholy territory

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

02, Sep, 2015 @12:28 PM

Article image
Belle and Sebastian review – indie stalwarts get political in Westminster
Murdoch and co seem about to instigate Britain’s own velvet revolution, but their flimsy alt-pop and lacklustre disco takes time to build up steam

Mark Beaumont

12, May, 2015 @12:50 PM