When I went off on my annual start-of-year rant about hotly-tipped new bands in January (and Lord, I’ve been forced to rethink my opinions about Florence And The Machine after seeing her shocking performance with Glasvegas at the NME Awards), I mentioned that, in the midst of so much electropop, “Maybe even Peaches might get a bit more love as the result of all this, which would be great.”
Well, now’s her chance. The new Peaches album, “I Feel Cream” is, in many ways, as dirty, hard and uncompromising as ever. For starters, it’s doubtful that someone like La Roux, to pick a victim at random, would ever come up with a harsh throbber like “More”; a song which possibly has more in common with the stern, rubber-shorted repetitions of European Body Music than ’80s New Pop.
Not my thing, normally, but Peaches always gets away with this stuff because of the wit and spirit she brings to it; she understands, unlike most of the inadvertently comic po-faces who usually make this kind of music, that it’s possible to subvert and deconstruct ideas of female sexuality while at the same time celebrating them.
On “I Feel Cream”, though, Peaches also has a crack at a poppier sound, which works out enormously well. The title track finds her singing in an uncannily high and innocent voice over jagged rave arpeggios. She’s virtually cooing here, until the requisite saucy rap arrives, and while the backing track is pretty brutal, the vocal melody is quite lovely. “Lose You”, meanwhile, is even sweeter and lusher electro – and, again, far preferable round these parts to any of the younger and presumably less shit-stirring competition.
This is, after all, a woman who’s seen it all before quite a few times. The opening track, “Serpentine”, begins with one of her trademark hyper-gabbled raps in which she seems to me saying, more or less, that she’s outlasted the backlash of electroclash – several backlashes, maybe: it’s a sobering thought that it’s nearly a decade since Fischerspooner first released “Emerge”.
There’s a chance this time, though, that Peaches might muscle her way a bit closer towards the mainstream, her age (articulated provocatively on “Mommy Complex”) notwithstanding. It won’t be with things like “Show Stoppers”, which is more or less an electronic reconfiguration of The Stooges, “Billionaire” (featuring Shunda K of Yo Majesty – a potty-mouthed, topless lesbian rapper that Peaches would’ve invented if she didn’t already exist), or even “Trick Or Treat”, which reminds me a bit – doubtless because of the title – of Gruff Rhys’ Neon Neon record.
Nope, it’ll be the first single that might just get Peaches in the face of a wider world. “Talk To Me”, produced by Soulwax apparently, is a strident and ferociously catchy, full-bodied pop song that, if it’s not a hit, should probably be covered by Pink or someone. It’s brilliant, if not the sort of music I normally write about here, so have a go at Peaches’ Myspace. The classic “Fuck The Pain Away” is still playing there, too, if you’re feeling adventurous.