Kids In Glass Houses – Peace

It’s party time in South Wales.

Label: Transmission

Rating:

Much like doing a Sistine Chapel jobby on a donkey won’t turn it into a zebra (this is an actual thing) and stumbling across an impossibly well-tailored item in Primark still makes it Primark and not, let’s say, Armani – there are some artists who no matter how good they are at what they do, can be hamstrung by the limitations of the genre they inhabit.

This is essentially the issue that faces Kids In Glass Houses. The Welsh quintet are accomplished at displaying their talents within pop-punk and post-hardcore, and it can make their earnest efforts seem less worthy of the praise they actually deserve.

In case that smacks of the dreaded backhanded compliment, the fact is that music doesn’t get much more disposable than pop - and that can be a wonderful thing. Because that is essentially what ‘Peace’ is: an unabashed pop album. Listen past the driving riffs and roaring chorus of the punchy title track that might suggest rock – its massive hook says otherwise. Likewise, the pulsing synths and catchy sing-a-long of ‘Set Me Free’ make it as likely a dancefloor filler as a stadium yeller.

There are subtler moments mixed in with the overwhelming mission statement of PARTY FUN that’s at work here, but the guys don’t always pull it off. Like on the mid-tempo ‘Stormchasers’, whose aching sincerity comes off as hammy and contrived. But ‘Novocaine’, a gorgeous, soaring, love-song, is similarly paced yet mysteriously hits all the right notes and is the most memorable song on the album.

The band are at their best though when they stick to the big, bold, anthemic sugar that’s their mainstay. ‘Up All Night’ is reminiscent of early single ‘Give Me What I Want’ with a high-production gloss, and it’s a relief to hear that shifting from major record label to fan-funding hasn’t made an audible difference to their overall sound.

In short, ‘Peace’ isn’t innovative or even particularly clever; but it is a damn good pop album and deserves to be heard like that. Acts like Bastille and AlunaGeorge have lately shown how to celebrate the epic and hedonistic in pop, and now KIGH put in their own bid to do the same. It’s fun, it’s enjoyable and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. What’s not to like?