Album Review: Peace - Kindness Is The New Rock And Roll | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Album Review: Peace – Kindness Is The New Rock And Roll

Peace live up to their name on their latest release, an album that sacrifices hit singles in favour of a more delicate approach that is equally captivating

Kindness Is The New Rock And Roll is probably the most appropriate album name for band called Peace. Although the title initially seems slightly self-righteous, the Birmingham four-piece have successfully explored their name without depending on clichés or overt political commentary on their third full-length record.

After surviving the notoriously difficult sophomore album, Peace have reinvented themselves five years on from their debut without becoming unrecognisable. Kindness Is The New Rock And Roll is Peace’s most raw album yet, hiding behind no filter or humour.

Kindness Is The New Rock And Roll is Peace’s most raw album yet, hiding behind no filter or humour

We were given a hint at the depth of this album through the three preceding singles. While ‘Power’ and ‘You Don’t Walk Away From Love’ are solid singles, they felt very ‘Peace’ - whereas ‘From Under Liquid Glass’ is definitely the best of the single releases and arguably one of the best of the 10 songs on Peace’s latest release. It perfectly demonstrates the strength of Harrison Koisser’s vocals whilst giving a level of vulnerability and honesty. Heartbreaking lyrics such as ‘In my bones I know there’s something real / But I can’t control the way I feel’ and ‘Everybody’s changing, blooming, moving on’ are brutally honest considerations of themes that are usually been clouded in their music by witty or sarcastic lyrics. In fact, the entirety of Kindness Is The New Rock And Roll is markedly more mature that Happy People: while their former record touched on issues surrounding gender and self-esteem, its sarcasm made the messages less prominent.

>With the political landscape being far from peaceful at the moment, this album is a huge middle finger to austerity, bigotry and anything rooted in something other than kindness. While Peace are usually a band I listen to for guitar-driven, lighthearted songs, I’m glad they’ve unmasked themselves in this album. The message of most songs, namely the defiant ‘Magnificent’ and ‘Silverlined’, is positive but still manages to make In Love and Happy People seem shallow in comparison.

Throughout the album, Koisser’s vocals are showcased more than ever, taking centre stage over the usual guitar riffs, especially on the acoustic ‘Just a Ride’. In all honesty, most of these songs could be played acoustically and be brilliant. As much as I love the cinematic ‘1998 (Delicious)’, possible Peace’s best song to date (despite technically being an almost unrecognisable cover of the vintage Binary Finary trance single), Kindness Is The New Rock And Roll manages to be just as immersive through emotive vocals and lyrics.

‘Choose Love’ at first feels like a particular weakness on the album, namely because of the clichéd ‘Choose love, choose life / Today, tonight / No fear, no pain / No hate, no shame’ chorus. But its shared name with the Help Refugees campaign and the more subtle lyrics throughout the rest of the album makes it a little more forgiving. Its place as the final song of the album signs it off perfectly as the most peace-based album I have heard in a long time.

Reaching the end of the record, 10 songs doesn’t seem like quite enough. But with every track being a masterpiece, I cannot complain. While the 18-track deluxe edition of Happy People left it feeling rather diluted, with only a few standouts, this time Peace have definitely opted for quality over quantity. And while In Love was one of the soundtracks of my adolescence and will forever remain one of my favourite albums, Kindness Is The New Rock And Roll seriously rivals it as Peace’s best album so far.

While they may share the aesthetics of most indie bands with their long hair and baggy clothes, Peace have firmly separated themselves from the pack with this album. I’m bloody glad Peace are back, and they’re not going anywhere soon.

Kindness Is The New Rock And Roll is out now via Ignition Records. Peace play Birmingham on May 24th.

Opinionated second-year Philosophy student and houmous enthusiast. (@katlouiise)


16th May 2018 at 9:00 am