Peace - Kindness Is The New Rock And Roll
by Anam Zafar
If there ever was an album that truly reflected the English rock quartet’s name, perhaps this is it. Peace have always had album titles referencing the positive (In Love, Happy People) but Kindness Is The New Rock And Roll is an album name that truly reflects its contents, leaning on positivity in a way that their previous two albums didn’t. Debut In Love was sassy, sophomore record Happy People brazenly critiqued contemporary society (think tracks Money and I’m A Girl), but the majority of Peace’s third offering is the sonic equivalent of a group hug, with the band focusing less on mosh-pit-inducing bangers to spend more time cruising in the slow lane. The underlying theme is, as the title suggests, a defiant decision to be kind and confident in these times of continuous sociopolitical horror, with a few diversions towards brutal honesty in some of their most vulnerable songs yet.
The album begins with dance anthem Power, the lyrics to which are admittedly quite cheesy in the chorus (I’ve got the power, I know it’s true/I feel it in you’), but this is quickly swept aside by the funk-inspired instrumental that more than makes up for it. Besides, maybe cheesy lyrics are the point. After all, as frontman Harry Koisser mentioned in an interview with NME: “Before I was quite cryptic, I loved a trendy metaphor. But [this time] I just didn’t care what anyone thought.” Nevertheless, the song’s theme is still a bold statement to begin on, and sets the bar for the whole album in terms of thematic impact – right after Power comes the order to “make war on war”, in the title track, in which they have the daring to sing their own name during the outro.
Heading to the darker side of the album, Angel is possibly the group’s most stripped-back song to date, with a sole guitar accompanying the vocals. Other standout track (and single) From Under Liquid Glass, released in support of mental health charity MQ, sees Koisser reach new vocal heights. These two songs are perhaps the most vulnerable that the band have seemed since the Happy People ballad Someday, with the blunt exploration of mental health on Liquid Glass showing once again that Peace aren’t joined to the hip with love songs.
While the new album may not be a ground breaker, it has some very special moments which the band should be lauded for, one of which is continuing the public conversation about mental health. Fans have waited a long time for this album: Peace have been off the radar for three years. Now, they are back in every sense of the word, celebrating with a tour which lasts the rest of this month and continuing on to a string of festival dates.