With a title like I Feel Cream, and with the fact that Peaches, after three albums, has something of a reputation for foul mouthed gender-bending and electro-subversion, one would be forgiven for assuming that this latest offering is more of the same. It always was going to be difficult for Merrill Nisker to move on from the era-defining Teaches of Peaches and Fatherfucker albums, but the old mellowing-with-age chestnut seems as applicable for her as for anyone. Now that the once-shockingly avant-garde electroclash genre, of which Peaches was undisputed high queen, has been subsumed into the mainstream, it would almost make sense for her to change direction somewhat. And yet, pleasingly, the changes she has actually made are entirely unexpected.
Album opener ‘Serpentine’ eases in nicely with signature Peaches beats and a rap mentioning electroclash, beards, mullets and moustaches, and similarly, ‘More’ reverts to type with tough girl lyrics and punchy, thumping beats. But it’s the shimmeringly pretty ‘Lose You’ that’s the most shocking thing about ‘I Feel Cream’. Delicate, breathy vocals and a pulsating bass line prop up an ‘I don’t want to lose you’ refrain; it’s all an easy million miles away from ‘Lovertits’ or ‘Back It Up, Boys’.
The eponymous ‘I Feel Cream’ slinks and purrs along in a similar enough vein, but is almost in danger of sounding too electro-house circa 2007 (the fact that electro giants Simian Mobile Disco were responsible for the mixing of the album would partly explain this away), as is ‘ Show Stopper’, which is reminiscent of Soulwax in a relentlessly beat-throttling, festival-friendly kinda way. ‘Billionaire’ tries to inject some old school energy and sleaziness via an appearance from Yo Majesty and some euro-skank squelchiness, but ‘Mud’ ruins it all by running with the eurotrash theme, leaving Peaches luxuriating in a jacuzzi, sipping Moet whilst crooning sexily.
It’s a whole new Merrill, now with added sophistication. The new challenge will be keeping the spark (and body hair) that set her apart in the first place and holding back from becoming yet another electro maven in a shiny leotard and big sunglasses.