Published Sep 23, 2015Rub is Peaches' ballsiest record to date. The avant-electro artist gave us a taste of the album with the single "Dick in the Air," which sees Peaches and Margaret Cho donning penis-adorned onesies while singing the words, "Balls balls / dick dick / balls and dick."
This is Peaches' sixth studio album since she debuted with Fancypants Hoodlum (under the name Merrill Nisker) more than a decade ago. Like her previous releases, Rub is a platform for sexual activism; it's dripping with the venereal material that attracted her pro-sex feminist fanbase, and it's loaded with content that challenges gender constructs and encourages non-binary thinking.
Peaches immediately confronts these themes in the bass-heavy album opener "Close Up," which features Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon. "Don't follow the patronymic!" she commands, before spitting some poetic stylings such as "sploogie-hugie, look at that spillage." The ensuing title track continues to ooze obscenities about circle jerks and reverse-role bukkake, and it only gets stickier on selections like "Sick in the Head," "Vaginoplasty" and "Dumb Fuck."
However, Rub also features a more than a few emotionally charged tracks, as well. The slower electro number "Free Drink Ticket" imagines exacting revenge on a heartbreaker, and "Dumb Fuck" is fuelled by the same detestation/devastation. She delivers a clean finish with the final track, "I Mean Something," which maintains the rattling bass that has been the bedrock of the entire record and features entrancing choruses from Feist.
The album's lyrical content is thought provoking, but sonically, the album is less than stimulating. While the rattling bass and seductive crooning get heated at times, the effects and at times monotonous loops begin to feel stale after a while. Peaches occasionally constructs an interesting arrangement, but too often, the soundscape feels generic and overdone.
Rub is fun for a few listens, but it's hard to really fall in love with. (I U She Music)