Kids In Glass Houses emerged in the wave of post Blink 182 pop-punk bands alongside You Me At Six, Simple Plan, All Time Low and Fall Out Boy. Hooks were falling from every pore as the albums ‘Smart Casual’ and ‘Dirt’ gained them increasingly more airplay and recognition. Then came the third album; ‘In Gold Blood.’ Hooks were still everywhere but the tone became more serious as the band seemed to be keen on moving towards a new direction. Frontman Aled Phillips said; “It’ll be a concept record, a big, grown-up rock record. It’s going to document a journey. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s looking to be our most ‘mature’ album.” However it turned out that the album’s concept was to wear feathers at Sonisphere and try to be more like Lostprophets, and that’s never a good thing.
So here we are two years later as the band prepare to release their fourth full length, ‘Peace.’ Finally they have shed the thin guise of punk and are now an out and out guitar pop band, a welsh McFly if you will. Excluding bonus tracks ‘Peace’ totals ten tracks and checks in at a sprightly 35 minutes. This is a shameless collection of three minute pop songs with no promise for anything more than what is delivered. On this level the album is a success and will surely delight the band’s fanbase.
Title track ‘Peace’ opens the record with the chorus “Peace in the valley and sex in my soul, death to my body bury me in rock and roll.” It sums up everything the band want to be, melodic, energetically paced guitar pop. ‘Drive’ is a solid comeback single. ‘V.I.P’ sounds like a B-side from their previous album, 2011′s ‘In Gold Blood’ which is no bad thing but is a little underwhelming after a two year break. ‘Black Cloud’ is a solid pop song and made for a good choice as a promotional teaser track which was posted online before the album’s release.
A lack of originality hampers the album as the mid point approaches but it becomes most apparent in the chorus and offbeat of ‘Set Me Free’ which seems to suggest the band really enjoyed ‘Planetary (GO!)’ by My Chemical Romance. Surely a cover would have been sufficient.
‘Novocaine’ is breezy pop but is forgotten as soon as the last note rings out. It sounds a little like a 1990′s boy band’s comeback single that nobody bought. ‘Runaways’ and ‘Up All Night’ suffer from the same problem. If these were singles and heard in isolation they might become earworms but they get lost amongst the familiarity of the other songs. ‘Stormchasers’ features call and return ‘oh oh ohs’ but it takes more than that and a slightly reduced tempo to make a song epic. Likewise, final track ‘Nightcrawler’ ticks every box of an epic album closer with soaring vocals, crashing choruses and a delicate outro but that is the problem, it is too cookie-cutter and by the numbers.
To be fair these are small niggles on what is a brisk pop album. The big thing that stands out from the record overall is that need for the band to do something a little different and diversify. It is like the band went into the studio on the back of their previous record and decided to retreat to what they know best rather than taking the risk of alienating their audience. The trouble is, Kids In Glass Houses do not have this corner of the market exclusively, there are plenty of trendy pop bands around. Boys of the moment The 1975 sound remarkably similar vocally and melodically albeit with a more electronic finish. Ultimately, Kids in Glass Houses are a band whose fan base is loyal and the band work hard to keep them happy. This record will do that but it won’t be making them any new fans.
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