There’s nothing wrong with a bit of Nineties revivalism, but there’s a point during ‘Waste Of Paint’, the seventh track on Peace’s debut album, where it starts to get ridiculous. A loping, baggy beat and chuga-chuga chime-y guitars are joined, clear as day, by the riff from Blur’s ‘There’s No Other Way’, marking the moment when In Love pushes past nostalgia and becomes self parody. If you were being kind you’d say it was homage. We’re not being that kind.
To Peace, time seems to have stopped somewhere between the Stone Roses’ debut and the first Oasis album. It’s not necessarily a bad thing: their influences are actually quite wide ranging so long as your field is restricted to the various forms of alternative music available in 1992. They pick all the best bits from Madchester and baggy, the first flowers of Britpop and the more psychedelic end of the grunge rock coming from America; at its heart In Love is the Charlatans covering the first Smashing Pumpkins album with a smidge of Suede, a smidge of the Mondays, a smidge of Blur and a blob of Pavement. It makes for distracting listening and it’s hard to properly enjoy the songs when you’re constantly noticing their inspirations, like discovering one of those old Shine compilations made up entirely of b-sides you’ve never heard before.
Whether all of this is really a problem is up for debate. Most of the band's record collection was obviously released while they were still in nappies and that gives the album an enthusiastic and youthful zing, as if they’re proudly showing us something they’ve discovered, like a four-year-old growing cress on a flannel. Or displaying a full potty. It’s fine if you’re 17 and discovering these sounds for the first time, but for those of us past the 30 mark it makes this a difficult record to get excited about. We’ve already been through this, back when Hard-Fi were little. It’s not charming anymore.
If you can clear your mind of the baggy nostalgia, or if you’ve never heard those records before, In Love is quite a bracing and well put together indie rock album, though nothing more than that. 'Follow Baby’, which slices between fuzzy grunge guitars and sweet melodies is a well buffed attempt at a Britrock classic that gets dangerously close to the mark, while 'Wraith' grafts a Seventies stoner groove to a shimmering chorus creating a well judged and dancefloor friendly helping of psychedelic pop and the most 2013 moment here. These boys do catchy very well indeed - the chorus of 'Delicious' lifts a fairly ordinary baggy jam to an album highlight - and guitarist Douglas Castle has a knack for earworm riffs and lead lines, even if they are a little too heavily indebted to mssrs Coxon and Squire. It’s his melodic playing that lift ‘Float Forever’ and ‘Sugarstone’ above the sub-Tim Burgess bedsit poetry crooned by singer Harrison Koisser (“Sit atop the Eiffel in your mind/if you’re not happy wearing denim, you’re the devil in disguise”). The psychedelia, the grunge and the insistent baggy beats come together best on ‘Toxic’, creating the heartily satisfying indie rock anthem precisely no-one was waiting for just now.
5Marc Burrows's Score