By Darcy M. | Music | June 17, 2009 |
By Darcy M. | Music | June 17, 2009 |
Peaches: Canada’s consummate sexual deviant. If you’re unfamiliar with her, since 2000 Peaches has been rock and electro’s over-the-top sexpot, mixing sexually charged lyrics with sexually charged beats. Yes, that’s a lot of sex. Over the past nine years, Peaches’ shtick hasn’t changed, which means she can no longer rely on shock value as a marketing tool as anyone who has heard her knows exactly what to expect. Peaches may come off as a novelty act at first, but she is not a one trick pony. Peaches has shown herself to be a very competent producer, even having the opportunity to remix Daft Punk’s “Technologic”.
At the birth of her musical career, Peaches was lumped in with the electroclash group of musicians. This was probably a timing coincidence, more than actual likeness: while Peaches’ music certainly had an electronic element to it, I would be hard-pressed to put her in the same category as early Ladytron or Adult. Peaches alludes to this in her song “Serpentine” when she raps that she ‘dined and dashed on electroclash,’ accurately implying that she was there but fucked off before that door slammed shut. Hard.
On her latest endeavor, Peaches chose to surround herself with talent: Simian Mobile Disco, Digitalism and Soulwax all chip in, producing a number of tracks. While amassing that sort of talent in one place may seem like a good idea at the time, history has shown that this can backfire in a huge way: despite the potential for success, too many ideas and people can become a creative bottleneck that drips instead of flows musical goodness.
That’s not to say that the collaborations don’t work. The songs on which the other artists contribute are the most listenable of the album. Digitalism, once again, prove themselves as being masters of the synthesizer on the song “Mommy Complex”. Simian Mobile Disco’s minimalist production song “Mud” provides some catchy background to some of the only actual coherent lyrics of the album. But those songs feel more like Digitalism and Simian Mobile Disco songs featuring Peaches rather than them taking a back seat. It is only the flying Dewale brothers of Soulwax who get Peaches to dig deep. The results speak for themselves, as it is one of the best tracks on the album. Also notable is the title track was written and produced by a group called Drums of Death, who I had never heard of myself, but the results are impressive in a fun 90s trance sort of way. All of that said, none of the aforementioned could be considered in any way great, and you know things are bad when not even Soulwax can save your ass. The collaborator who really fails is Gonzales, and he writes half of the album. Of the tracks Gonzales wrote, the only listenable songs are listed above, saved by artists with the musical chops to harness Peaches’ talent.
At this point, you’ll notice that I’ve focused mainly on who Peaches was working with, rather than Peaches, herself. Peaches helped to write only one of the tracks, that’s it. And while she was a producer on most of the album, few of the better tracks are the result of her work. In fact, after listening to this album, I had to go back to some of her older stuff to remind me why I liked her in the first place. I will admit that tracks like “Fuck the Pain Away” and “Operate” are not your typical Peaches fare; they do show, however, what Peaches can do when she is on the top of her game. But Peaches is not at the top of her game here, vocally or in terms of production. The only song she produces that shows any potential is “Show Stopper”, and it becomes monotonous by the one-minute mark.
I Feel Cream does not suffer from the usual problem from which albums with too many talented people involved suffer: the creative bottleneck is not present here. After listening to the album a number of times, and also given Peaches’ limited involvement on the album itself, I can’t escape the feeling that she really phoned this one in. Lyrics about sex are fine, but as I found out they are actually quite laughable, if not boring, without some resolve behind it. When you mix uninspired delivery with uninspired lyrics and mostly uninspired production, you end up with a boring album. Peaches may have left before the hype-balloon of electroclash eventually popped, but many of those artists are still around, and they are releasing far more inspired music than I Feel
Darcy is Pajiba’s newest music writer. Be nice.