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Album review: Peaches' 'I Feel Cream'

May 5, 2009 |  1:40 pm

Peaches.jjpg Peaches is shaping up to be the Woody Allen of naughty electroclash. In the midst of her prodigious output, there are some explicit diamonds and some half-baked duds. Both are obsessed with sex and gender relations -- except Merrill Nisker, 40, will never cast a prettier, younger version of herself in the Peaches role: She's at the center of the club, her New York, groping the willing and dissing the meek.

On her fifth album, Nisker drops the Iggy Pop fetishism that distracted her last couple of albums and engages in elemental club throbbers, stripped down to equal parts fire and ice. Classic London analogists Simian Mobile Disco helm the mix; written and recorded in London and Berlin, "I Feel Cream" projects midnight Euro-cool, a counter to Peaches' steamy, hair-prickling lyrics, the most printable representative being: "Never go to bed without a piece of raw meat."

But it's not all raunch here -- more than ever, Peaches shows vulnerability, the moment when the club chick wipes away her purple-mascara tears with a fingerless glove in a locked stall. "Lose You," ready for play in a junior investor's Lamborghini circa 1984, supplies bubbling liquid-titanium synths underneath Peaches' softly wounded vocals.

At times the minimalist compositions expose her limited range, but no one should be listening to Peaches for the pitch-defying melismas. When she has Shunda K from Yo! Majesty contribute rhymes in the resplendent "Billionaire," it raises her game. She slams whoever might accuse her of being a one-trick pony, galloping in with a big, bad attitude, and in true Peaches fashion, her sharpest sneers are aimed at the one she's trying to seduce.

--Margaret Wappler

"I Feel Cream"
XL Recordings
Three stars