This English Four Piece's Psychedelic Roar Is Deliciously Disorienting
Where they’re from: Birmingham, UK
When they started: 2010/2011
Genre: Indie Rock
Sounds Like: Strawberry Fields-era Beatles having a psychedelic vision of 2013 while touring America in the 1990s
Let me explain what I mean about the way UK quartet Peace sounds, because this time-travelling quality is a big part of what makes them worth your time. They aren’t just mixing musical references from different eras, they are mixing musical perspectives, effectively occupying different dimensions simultaneously. They are perverse, art-damaged and baroque in the style of ’60s psych and glam rock. (It doesn’t hurt that frontman Harrison Koisser can sound a bit like Marc Bolan from T. Rex.) They somehow also manage the naivete and cheeky incoherence of ’90s alternative, but the sound itself is so bright and loud, such a petting zoo of sonic delights, that it’s instantly recognizable as rock for people who got into music through Tumblr and not television.
As products of this generation, they know exactly what they’re doing. You can tell that from the video for “Blood Shake.” It’s like if The Monkees had been a band in the ’90s with their own after school show on MTV:
Though their 2012 EP Delicious is brief, listening the whole way through means getting hit with half a century’s worth of counter cultural head trips at once. It doesn’t feel like overkill, though. At this point, we’ve all built up such a tolerance that this sort of pile-up is absolutely necessary.
But at this point I’d like to backpedal a bit, because focusing on their many touchstones sort of misses the point of Peace. The main thing is the way they seem unstuck from all of their references. Since their epic and emotive songs draw from everything, the focus eventually falls on what they’re saying, that is, on the specific coordinates in the space-time continuum for where they want to take you. For instance, the massive Spiritualized-esque track “1998″ off the EP perfectly encapsulates that period in adolescence when, era notwithstanding and all substances aside, there isn’t too much knocking around inside your head apart from question marks and a bunch of pretty colors. It’s nostalgia attached to no specific moment in anyone’s personal history.
There’s no reason to think their career will be confined to one short period of time either. Their ’90s Brit-pop tinged current single “Wraith” shows that they keep getting better and suggests they have plenty more tricks and trips where that came from.