The steady, tasteful buildup of hype for Peaness feels very appropriate for them, despite being adorned with a name to suggest anything but. They’re the sort of indie-pop band whose unassuming nature is definitely a selling point for them, where their acclaim has come more on the basis of lush melodic composition and harmony over anything remotely showy. The quiet arrival of this debut full-length is testament to that, released on their own label and acting to establish their existing palette rather than grow it all that much. If that sounds like a veiled jab, it isn’t supposed to; there’s a deliberate nature to how Peaness carry themselves that makes them work so well, in the contrast between pleasant indie-pop light and the melancholy underneath. Songs like Kaizen and irl serve as the album’s main mission statement, trying to find fulfillment and self-improvement in a world that either deems that impossible or pits you against yourself for even bothering to try, but persevering is the only way forward. Peaness’ plainspokenness and lack of artifice are the most key factors in making this work; they’ll keep away from over-elaborate metaphors in favour of a far more beneficial snappiness in writing, as a way of highlighting both the light and the dark. There’s a bright, spirited tone to Jessica Branney’s vocals and her harmonies with Carleia Balbenta—Hurts ‘Til It Doesn’t feels especially indebted to classic pop on that front—but there’s also a weight that can still be picked up on. It’s open and earnest, a way of trying to let the light in while accepting the roadblocks and day-by-day nature that comes with it.
That’s all compounded by how irrepressibly catchy World Full Of Worry is at every turn. There’s not a glimpse of clutter or unnecessary messing about; this is about as laser-focused on preserving a wire-tight indie-pop core as it’s likely to get. There are even leanings towards the post-The 1975 brand of pop on songs like How I’m Feeling and irl, being just a few twinkling synth layers away from something like Fickle Friends or early Pale Waves, meant in the most complimentary way possible. Of course, that can be something of a double-edged sword when the onus on vibrancy and colour isn’t totally in Peaness’ favour, though the end goals are both markedly different. In Peaness’ case, this is unquestionably indie-pop with ‘indie’ as the operative word, keeping the guitars and bass tight and prominent within its rather spartan mix and keeping those as the driving force. A song like Left To Fall Behind is the ideal standard for that, where the payoff of a bigger, bracing chorus is still there, but kept within Peaness’ softer, more subdued framework. High-speed thrills aren’t the M.O. and nor should they be, and that’s something that Peaness feel acutely aware of. It all circles back to the initial assessment of unassuming when it comes to this album, a word that World Full Of Worry spryly avoids the pejorative aspects of to instead embrace as a subtly gripping little indie album that only becomes more so on each repeat listen. It’s well worth the time to give Peaness a go, a band with a tacitly unmarketable name but who could do with being heard by a lot more people.
For fans of: Fightmilk, Happy Accidents, Fresh
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘World Full Of Worry’ by Peaness is released on 6th May on Totally Snick Records.