I Feel Cream (XL/Beggars)

Peaches' 2000 debut, Teaches of Peaches, was undoubtedly a high point of its genre. There was something uniting and motivating to be found in Merrill Nisker's skeletal production, sexual proclamations, and daredevil live shows. But through Fatherfucker and Impeach My Bush, Peaches' repetitive approach — rooted to a single 909 groovebox and a few moaning synths — drained her music of its initial bravado.

Despite treading too little new ground on her latest release, I Feel Cream, the disc is nonetheless a welcome step forward. It helps immensely that multiple producers — Soulwax, Digitalism, Drums of Death, Simian Mobile Disco, and original partner in crime Gonzales — all contributed. Peaches finally found a mix of good editors to cross out the dead tricks, throw in infallible synth compositions, and make the songs concise and piercing affairs. On album highlight “Billionaire,” Peaches is an adept MC — albeit gruesomely shown up by Yo Majesty's Shunda K — as Gonzales' furious hip-hop beats bear down upon her. Among Cream's missteps are “Mommy Complex,” which shows Peaches settling into the same cheap laughs and sexuatropes she wore out on her last two albums, and the single “Talk to Me,” which does more to reveal her shortcomings as a vocalist than her boldness at giving singing try.

But compared to her previous work, I Feel Cream is Peaches' most melodic and brooding work to date. It's still dance music, and she's still rapping about bizarre, fantastical sexcapades. But there are enough emotive moments, grinding buzzsaw synths, and updated production methods here to suggest that maybe, just maybe, Peaches is growing up.

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