By definition, pop reunions are all about togetherness. But on the first new Eurythmics recording in ten years, Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart practically turn their recommitment into a concept album. The opening cut and first single, “17 Again,” traces the circle that runs from the meeting of these former lovers to where they are today, even quoting their immortal first hit, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This).” Like Lennox’s vocal, it’s atypically strained but still affecting: “You and all your jewelry and my bleeding heart/Who couldn’t be together and who could not be apart.”
Lyrical echoes of their failed romance and hugely successful partnership resonate throughout Peace. Yet for a duo that broke through on a hook-happy synth-pop wave, Peace is low on the catchy choruses and instant-gratification electronics that defined Eurythmics, instead favoring ornate orchestral arrangements. Despite the presence of Stewart’s trad-rock guitars on the Stones-y “Power to the Meek” and the grungy dud “I Want It All,” the album’s multiple stately symphonic ballads remain closer to Lennox’s somber solo work than to the spunky spirit of the pair’s peak-era delights. Peace charms with repeated listenings, but its well-crafted down-tempo musings lack the old urgency. This is Eurythmics without the rhythm.