This Peaches article was written by Hollie Stokes, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse
Smug in her vulgarity, Peaches makes her return with a garishly out-there, pioneering album of provocation and self-discovery. She’s a crude devotee of uncomfortable listening and an intrinsically gifted musician but Peaches’ new album doesn’t just deliver talent, it provides a definitive political standpoint.
Undaunted by the bizarre, the artistic Merrill Nisker (Peaches) wrestles with issues of gender identity, sexual expression and left leaning politics. But shining through her lewd lyrics and taboo titles are the products of a vivid musician and lyricist, with over fifteen years of boundary-pushing experience.
Featuring visual artist, Kim Gordon, ‘Rub’ opens with its leading single; ‘Close Up.’ Playing the role of a blasé, vaping wrestling coach, Gordon watches as student, Peaches, launches into a vulgar match of bodily fluids and foreplay. Accompanied by a clever mix of semi-spoken hooks, seductive rhythms and a flush catchy chorus, ‘Close Up’ is a great tone-setter and in-your-face comeback track.
Deeper in to the album and written for performance artist, Empress Stah, ‘Lights in Places’ is an ear-catching combination of electronic rhythms and push button effects. Featuring in Stah’s explicit show Stargasm, the track has a haunting chorus and distinctive rap, reigning the track back in from its not-so-typical Peaches style.
However, aside from the more humorous songs on the album, such as ‘Dick in the Air’ featuring Margaret Cho and Peaches in penis-clad knitwear, ‘Rub’ has a distinctly darker undertone as the latter tracks confront poignant personal issues including suicide and relationships.
Carrying the theme of relationships and the most upfront pop song on the album, ‘Dumbfuck’ is a mixture of catchy disco synths softened by honest lyrics. Dropping at least 30 F-Bombs from beginning to end, the track nods it’s head to popular culture whilst maintaining Peaches’ distinctive style.
Drawing the album to a close, again with typical Peaches panache, ‘I Mean Something’ features fellow Canadian artist Feist. A stab at showing everyone has self-worth, the duo sing: “No matter how old, how young, how sick, I mean something” which proves for a poignant final track with a lingering message. ‘I Mean Something’ has a distinctive hood undertone to it, which teamed with the semi-spoken words of Peaches and softer hooks of Feist, create a textured track with an infectious rebellious vibe.
When it comes to Peaches, context is everything. A compilation of politically powerful stand-alone tracks, ‘Rub’ proves for prickly listening but without the controversial visuals and uncomfortable language; the album struggles to pack such a punch.
‘Rub’ is out now via I U She Music.