Given the high demand for twee, typically genial indie at the moment, it’s little surprise to see the upswing that Peaness are enjoying. Terrible name aside, the Chester trio aren’t messing around, militantly gigging and making festival appearances, and selling out the pre-orders for their latest single in just two days, an impressive feat for a band still in their relative infancy. It all paints their new EP Are You Sure? as a tantalising prospect, if only to see if Peaness can continue with the momentum they’ve been so adept at building.
In terms of the EP as a whole, while there is a bright future at the end of the road for Peaness, there’s a lot of growth that needs to happen first. The main reason for this is just how unnecessarily restrained this EP can feel. The band aren’t totally to blame for that, mind – their intimate, fat-free brand of indie-pop is low-key by design as it is – but there’s a slightness to the vocals that can’t counteract this. Both bassist Jessica Branney and guitarist Carleia Balbenta contribute to the vocals, but the lack of interesting interplay or layering, or even discernible, individual personalities means that they fall flatter than they should.
Are You Sure? would be a lot less likeable if the songwriting wasn’t so charming. It’s coquettish to the point of passive at points, like the chiding of an ex on Oh George or the critique of wasting food on Ugly Veg, but there’s such an approachable nature to it all that makes it hard to dislike. It works the best on Seafoam Islands and Same Place, both pure escapism fantasies that benefit the most from the laidback nature of Peaness’ sound. There’s not an aggressive bone in this band’s body, but they make ample headway regardless.
Ultimately, the direction in which Peaness are heading on Are You Sure? is clearly progression, albeit a qualified one. The natural limitations of their sound are currently holding them back from really embracing their numerous plaudits, but at their core is an indie-pop band with eager intentions of becoming firm favourites amongst their scene. As soon as they spread their wings and take a few more risks, they’ll reach that goal with no problems.
For fans of: Sleater-Kinney, Get Inuit, Sløtface
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Are You Sure?’ by Peaness is released on 5th May on Alcopop! Records.