Spin Control


July 9, 2006



Peaches, "Impeach My Bush" (XL Recordings) ***1/2

On her first two albums, 2002's "Teaches of Peaches" and the following year's "Fatherf---er," the cusp-of-stardom Canadian electroclash singer and performance artist Merrill Nisker took the stripped-down soundscapes of her Roland MC505 beat box as far as they'd go and, one suspected, pretty much exhausted her alter ego Peaches' ability to titillate us with scatological gender-bending. But on her third effort, she ups the intensity of her sound with co-producers Mickey Petralia and Greg Kurstin (both former collaborators with Beck); enlists some help on guitars, drums, analog synths and backing vocals from Joan Jett, Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), Feist and Samantha Maloney (Hole, Motley Crue), and hits a whole new level in terms of lyrical outrage.

Alternating between her most direct political statements ever and her frankest sexual explorations yet -- and sometimes combining the two, as evidenced by the title track -- Peaches simultaneously shocks and amuses, making anyone else exploring this turf seem like a monk or a nun. Closer examination of songs -- such as "Two Guys (For Every Girl)," "Rock the Shocker" and several other titles I can't print -- isn't possible in a family newspaper, but this is hardly pornography masquerading as something meaningful, like, say, Blender and Maxim magazines, or two out of three mainstream summer movies. More like that exceedingly rare, multi-leveled work that just happens to find the art amid the X -- a veritable "Last Tango in Paris," "Midnight Cowboy" or "A Clockwork Orange," and an unforgettable musical trip through the seedy underbelly of our times.