Before becoming the shock inducing woman we’ve come to know as Peaches, Canadian born Merrill Beth Nisker taught music and acting to elementary school children. After the career changing release of her first recording in 1995 under Merrill Nisker, Peaches broke through with her own brand of education. The debut album under the Peaches moniker, The Teaches of Peaches was released in 2000 and pitted her at the center of the electro clash movement with the likes of Le Tigre, Miss Kittin and Fischerspooner to name a few. Nine years and three albums later (2003’s Fatherfucker and 2006’s Impeach My Bush) we are creaming with enjoyment for this year’s I Feel Cream out May 5th in the US.
From I Feel Cream’s opening assault of “Serpentine” (I Don’t Give A…Part 2), she lays down the claim that she’s outlasted the backlash of electro clash. And right she is. “Serpentine” is only the introduction to the album’s 12 arresting tracks that inevitably shake the listener to the core, and then to the dance floor once they‘ve finished blushing. The first proper single “Talk To Me” is a classic Peaches fearless and your-face track that grabs the listener and forces them to listen up. “Talk to Me” stands apart from the rest of the album to me as the most straightforward song lyrically and musically, whereas the others repeatedly caught me off guard with unexpected beats and pleasantly surprising climaxes.
This description is deliciously illustrated in “More,” currently representing I Feel Cream’s second commercial single. In the song she sings “Seems you got a little bit more than you asked for,” a statement I feel couldn’t be any closer to the truth. However, the title track “I Feel Cream” is nothing short of an eargasmic musical experience. The jarring yet smooth track places Peaches at the center of the dance floor as a disco goddess, an image perfectly depicted in the album’s beautiful artwork. I cannot wait to see this translated to the main stage!
In “Mommy Complex” Peaches plays the part of an aggressive cougar, and over an incredible beat reassures her prey “Hush now baby don’t you stress, I’m gonna fill your mommy complex.” This is more of a command than an offer in which she follows through with threatening to “send you back to school.” The album’s edgier hip hop side is also represented in tracks such as “Showstopper,” “Take You On,” “Mud,” and “Billionaire” which features Shunda K of Yo Majesty.
Overall, I liken I Feel Cream to an ice cream sundae with ingredients that include: incredible layered electro sounds, thumping bass lines, rickety noises, intense build-ups, all topped off with Peaches’ vocals that go on thick, sweet and smooth. However if you’ve learned anything from the Teaches of Peaches you will know not all is sweet. The slick and sly lyrical content full of clever double entendres, politics, sexual empowerment and blurring the gender line as all present on ‘Cream,’ it’s what we’ve come to love about her. Even through the incredible and revolutionary additional A-list production by Digitalism, Soulwax, Drums of Death and Simian Mobile Disco, Peaches manages not to get lost or become secondary in this project - a feat that many prove to be a difficult part of collaborating.
I stand behind my opinion that there is not any particular song(s) that I find to be weak, although I’m partial to the hard edged electro tracks. Each song is so incredibly different from the next with their sexy bass lines, beat drops and surprises at every turn. After listening to the album once over and then inevitably on repeat for months to come, I can say with confidence that this will be on a lot of Best Album lists of 2009. Without a doubt, I Feel Cream.
Anthony Cuellar is a Pretty Much Amazing contributor. Follow his eccentric musical reveries at his transatlantic music blog, Tastes Like Caramel.