Merrill Nisker’s work as Peaches may by now be synonymous with pink vinyl and open talks about all kinds of sex. But up to this point, her work has arguably been a bit more complex than that, messing with notions of appropriateness while maintaining a sense of humor and absurdity. It’s also been subject to plenty of cultural readings that you may or may not buy into. But Fatherfucker is a slightly disappointing follow-up to 2000’s Teaches of Peaches for the simplest of reasons: the music here just isn’t quite as sexy as it could be.
The album’s opening track, “I Don’t Give A…,” in which Nisker screams “I don’t give a fuck!” and “I don’t give a shit!” over a loop from Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation,” may leave you thinking, Is this it? The sounds on Fatherfucker are even sparer than those on Teaches, and frankly they just don’t rock as hard.
And it’s hard to care much about what Nisker is saying when the beats don’t hold your interest. “I U She,” for example, barely manages to get off the ground, even as Nisker celebrates sexual fluidity: “I don’t have to make the choice / I like girls and I like boys.” “Rock ‘n’ Roll,” built around a repetitive fuzzy guitar riff, gets boring quickly. On the whole, although Fatherfucker may bring up some things worth discussing in your feminist theory classes, it has far fewer musically memorable tracks than does its predecessor.
But that’s not to say there’s no mix-tape-worthy tracks here, good for parties or car rides through the suburbs. I don’t mean to be patronizing by describing Nisker and Iggy Pop’s call-and-response duet on “Kick It” as charming, but that’s what it is (Iggy Pop snarling “I don’t look too good in pink” is adorable in some bizarre way). The dark, sneaky beats on “Operate” make it the album’s standout track, and one of its most danceable. “Shake Yer Dix,” with its bug zapper-esque pulsing, is as fun as the best tracks on Teaches. And this isn’t a bad record by any means; it’s just unfortunate that it’s not nearly as consistently entertaining as earlier Peaches work.