Peaches ‘Rub’ (I U She Music)

The filthy queen of electro performance art returns to the studio after six years

Back and nastier than ever, Peaches is once again putting the “clash” in electroclash. ‘Rub’ was recorded last year in LA, and is her first album since 2009’s critically acclaimed ‘I Feel Cream’. With lyrics like “Get you off like Robert Shapiro / Talk to me like DeNiro / Let’s get suspect / Let’s get wet”, that previous record was a carnally-charged, button-pushing success. As an artist who thrives on subversion, Peaches barely paused to accept the praise. The natural follow-up? A one-woman production of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ and a semi-autobiographical electro rock opera, ‘Peaches Does Herself’.

This latest release absorbs her love for outlandish theatre: ‘Rub’ is a visual project with a video for each song, but she’s not simply “doing a Beyoncé”. According to Peaches, now is a good time to “make whatever you want” and “show it wherever you want”. Forward-thinking art is always fine by me, but this is a music review, and I have to enquire: does the music stand alone?

Exhibit one: ‘Close Up’, a collaboration with ex-Sonic Youth member Kim Gordon. While the lo-fi hip hop breaks no ground, the video certainly does. Directed by Vice Cooler, formerly of Hawnay Troof, it features vaping, lactating, defecating, vomiting, gender subverting and, naturally, burlesque wrestling. It’s an absorbing piece, to say the least.

Despite this opening, the rest of ‘Rub’ isn’t overpowered by its attention-grabbing visuals. Lead single ‘Light In Places’ somehow manages to trump its accompanying footage of aerial artist Empress Stah shooting actual lasers from her actual bum. Glam and glitchy, it celebrates political and personal emancipation: “Liberate en masse / Eliminate the class / All humans, free at last / So much beauty coming out of my ass”. With a Moroder-worthy beat and Gaga-downgrading mantras, this is a highlight.

Besides laid-back rapping and throbbing disco rhythms, ‘Rub’ is an album of further contrasts. Peaches fuses the mainstream appeal of ‘I Feel Cream’ with the obscurity of her earliest work. Tracks such as ‘Dumb Fuck’ mimic Vevo-age Beth Ditto, whereas disturbing gristle like ‘Free Drink Ticket’ won’t be played at electro clubs anytime soon. The lyrical content also varies, for better and for worse. Take ‘Dick In The Air’ – what could be better than a sex-positive feminist statement, complete with a droll dig at Ayn Rand? A song whose shock factor doesn’t overshadow the music, perhaps.

Such blips aside, ‘Rub’ sees Peaches playing to her strengths. Successful collaborations with Cooler, Gordon, Simonne Jones and Feist validate her astute talent radar, whereas vivid jams like ‘Light In Places’ flaunt Peaches’ own brilliance. Perhaps I’ll feel differently after I’ve watched all of the corresponding videos. Until then however, I’ll ensure my headphones are fully plugged in and turn up this NSFW electroclash filth-fest.

You May Also Like