Peaches escapes any attempt to be pinned down with a one-two of wrenching electroclash style and straightforwardly sexual content in I Feel Cream, her fourth LP, which features guest production from Simian Mobile Disco and a posse of other electronic masters. The first track, “Serpentine,” bids this dare: “Some call me trash, some call me nasty/ Call me crass but you can’t match me.” Peaches will avoid not only a negative slut definition on this album, but every definition. She answers the question of who she is with one of her own: “Who do you want me to be?”
From the neo-soul vibe of the disgustingly danceable “Talk to Me” to the sentimental soprano tilt of “Lose You” to the hip-hop style of “Billionaire,” Peaches changes personalities like outfits. The only constant is sex. “Mommy Complex” offers up the lyrics, “Huddled in a fetal it’ll make you cry/ Don’t ever leave mommy, don’t say goodbye.” This track, produced by Digitalism, kicks hard to those fabulously perverted lyrics. Like anonymous and well-timed thrusts, the beat wipes out every beat before it -- and will dissolve as quickly into the next.
Just as the album is all about sex, its style is unambiguous. Peaches sings in "Serpantine," “I dined and dashed on electroclash/ I bat my lash and outlast the backlash.” And this is iconic electroclash: in-your-face beats, attitude dosed with more attitude, and a synth-pop fusion that works on runways as well as radio waves.
Think Felix Da Housecat, Le Tigre, Fischerspooner. Right from the wicked, heavy bass of “Serpantine,” this album announces itself as one that is made for getting nasty on the dance floor (or elsewhere). I Feel Cream is a force of positive motion that addresses criticism with the sonic equivalent of a bitch slap.
“Billionaire” makes the claim that Peaches will “Fuck you like a billionaire,” and in so doing, gets to the heart of her empowerment. If sex is currency, does that mean women should feel entitled to use it as such? She doesn’t get Gloria Steinem though; instead, she just throws down cutty rhymes. “Mamma Dada/ Cabaret Voltaire/ Face full of chocolate éclair.” In the battle of sex versus meaning, sex wins.
It would've been reasonable to expect Merrill Nisker, aka Peaches, to undergo some type of thematic transformation on her fifth studio album. After all, from Teaches of Peaches to 2006's Impeach My Bush, Peaches' thematic preoccupation with sex has only become clearer. So now, at 40, would Peaches finally be done with diddling skittles and move on to have her Joni Mitchell moment? Considering the fact that the title of this album is I Feel Cream, the chances aren't looking good.
The album features contributions from Simian Mobile Disco, Drums of Death, Soulwax and Digitalism, so far from going back on her sexually transgressive agenda, Peaches has just recruited friends. Anyone waiting for a content seachange from Peaches can at least take solace in the fact that she appears to have brought her A-game.
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