It's been six years since Peaches released her last studio album. But far from being a break, these past six years have been some of the busiest and most productive in the provocative musician-producer-filmmaker-performance artist's career. From acclaimed theater productions to her cinematic debut at the Toronto International Film Festival to the release of her first book, Peaches pushed herself further and with more artistic rewards than ever before during her time away from the studio. That work ethic should come as little surprise, though. This is Peaches we're talking about, an artist who's managed to wield immeasurable influence over mainstream pop culture while still operating from outside of its confines, carving a bold, sexually progressive path in her own image that's opened the door for countless others to follow. Now, creatively refreshed and recharged, she's emerged from the studio in rare form with 'RUB,' her fifth and most unequivocal album to date. It's an adventurous, audacious musical statement, the latest entry in a conversation Peaches opened up 15 years ago and the world may just now have finally caught up with.
"Since 2000, I've been making a record for a year, and then touring it for two years over and over," Peaches explains of the impetus for her studio hiatus. "After 10 years of doing that, I needed a change. I didn't feel like writing another album and touring it for two years again, so I was really excited to try new projects."
That desire led to her one-woman production of 'Jesus Christ Superstar,' redubbed 'Peaches Christ Superstar' and mounted initially in Berlin before touring the world. "It was an endurance performance," she explains, "and a time for me to celebrate my actual singing voice, which I never pursued as Peaches."
The Guardian hailed it as "killer," raving that "Peaches gets into the guts of the songs, extracting with utter sincerity every ounce of pathos and comedy," while SPIN praised the production's "absurd beauty" and The Globe and Mail applauded her vocals, which "explode[d] with soulful power."
Critics' surprise may have stemmed from the fact that Peaches had spent the past decade pushing buttons and boundaries with a sexually-charged blend of electronic music, hip hop, and punk rock that she delivered via one of the most raw and creative stage shows in popular music. When she first emerged to international attention with 'The Teaches of Peaches,' her 2000 debut album, single "Fuck The Pain Away" catapulted her into the spotlight and appeared everywhere from Sofia Coppola's 'Lost In Translation' and 30 Rock to South Park and HBO's True Blood. Rolling Stone called the album "surreally funny [and] nasty," and the Village Voice named it one of the year's best. She followed it up with 'Fatherfucker,' which further challenged and reversed issues of gender politics and sexual identity and featured an appearance by Iggy Pop. She was joined by Joan Jett, Josh Homme, Beth Ditto, and more on her 2006 call to revolution, 'Impeach My Bush,' and by the time she returned with 'I Feel Cream' three years later, The New York Times had dubbed her a genuine "electro-clash heroine," though she'd already transcended the genre tag and demonstrated an incisive artistic prowess far beyond her musical output. Uncut raved that her work brought together "high art, low humour and deluxe filth [in] a hugely seductive combination."