Well it seems that lowest common denominator ‘indie’ has gotten braver in recent years, more explicit about their sources and more convinced that their fans aren’t intelligent enough to figure it out for themselves. Almost as if these bands are claiming cultural finders fees, researchers have finally become cool. Where have all the introspective drug addled weirdos gone? They were believable.
This latest wave of vapid bands have even lost the great pre-tense of post nineties indie, that all bands needed to be fronted by a believable idiot savant. It’s probably safe to assume that the Kings of Leon’s dispelled this with the start of a new genre with their last couple of albums, lets call it ‘career-core’. Or maybe it was the public demise of Doherty and Winehouse. Instead this generation seem to be slowly making their way through different sub genres one by one and kinda ruining everyone’s fun as they go.
I have my fingers crossed for death metal next, that will be a right laugh. The way this phenomenon happens is quite simple really, the smart ones with cool friends cotton onto the nuances of sonic trends, the one in question here is a resurgence of shoegaze, psych and experimental noise bands, these clever lads then just tweak the blueprint laid out by their cool friends beyond recognition and hay presto you have chart worthy music that the press can proclaim as progression. It happened to poor old dubstep didn’t it, they should have kept that secret hidden away.
I don’t mean to sound so bitter, in fact it’s all quite apt really. No one really wants to listen to an hour of Lou Barlow talking crap with a tape recorder in his bath tub, so it makes sense that this kind of stuff only really surfaces through lukewarm influential fall out.
Right, I guess I should talk about Peace directly and stop gabbing on. I didn’t know an awful lot about Peace before taking on this review. I had seen a pretty terrible video which not only sounded like a second album Foals track but seemingly had stolen one of their videos as well. In the process they seem to have turned what might be the most intelligent thing the Foals ever did into a wildly chauvinistic and vacuous video where they literally, and metaphorically, act out the male gaze.
Bless them though, you can see that they had no idea how ridiculous it all is. Also I had heard their names in conversation about a number of other bands with water related names. It is understandable then that I had a hunch that Peace were all about America, beach vibes and tie-dye. Five years ago that would have sounded very promising, all the idiots were preoccupied with the Kings of Leon and no one had time for Dinosaur Jr. Sadly this isn’t always the case anymore.
Cockpit was the venue for Peace and it was packed to the rafters, although to others we must have had an accompanying adult thing going on, lets just say its a good job for Peace that Live at Leeds in a 14+ event. The band kept everyone waiting for quite a while which whipped the youngsters into a frenzy. There were kids fainting all over the joint when Peace finally came out, leather jackets and long hair can be pretty convincing.
My hunch was pretty spot on, they play that brand of lucid psych pop that seems to be become increasingly popular. Sadly I imagine we will hear a lot of these guys.
They cracked on into their set, pumping out a bunch of dull pop songs crudely hidden behind fluctuating guitars. In terms of indie pop these guys are on the right side, they understand the power of abstract guitars and slacker vocal, I won’t take that away from them. My real problem is with the trite claims that these guys are pushing boundaries that will inevitably follow soon.
These boys basically aren’t doing anything interesting, its your bog standard indie pop blueprint with a slightly different palette laid over it. They will be defended by the likes of NME by claiming that the people who don’t like them are obsessed with the past, they will say everything has happened so in a post-modern world we should be happy with the rehashing of our old favourites. (In fact here it is, please note the astute use of the word buzzkiller, I feel ridiculous. Apparently there so impulsive one of them proposed to their girlfriend without telling an international magazine beforehand. Also I would like to point out that in terms of “wide-eyed marvellous wonder” there is no band like the Flaming Lips and Wayne Coyne formed the band when he was thirty-two.)
Tell that to No Age, tell that to Fucked Up, there are still bands making real headway. It’s telling that people said the same thing throughout the careers of bands like My Bloody Valentine without acknowledging them yet suddenly in the last few years MBV have been canonised and now the press can comfortably talk about them.
To Peace’s credit they are a tight outfit, these boys can play their instruments, they really do sound like their records. Unfortunately for Peace this has never really been a prerequisite within indie rock. Kim Gordon has always struggled with her bass, Kevin Shields is no classical guitarist. Interesting music is about interesting ideas and these guys have none.
In all honesty the reason anyone cares who these people are is that their on trend, they have cool hair and a slacker vibe. There is no substance to the music that would carry it beyond the realms of mere ‘cool’. As soon as my hotly awaited Death Metal phase comes in they will be forgotten. Hopefully the generation that believe them now won’t be as cruel when they grow up as we were to our old heroes. I am sure they will though.
For fans of Peace check out the altogether more interesting bands Tame Impala, Kurt Vile, Deerhunter, Girls and Mac DeMarco for music in keeping with Peace’s slacker pop.
Watch Peace’s video Wraith below.
By Philip Coyne