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Rub Ian Wade , October 7th, 2015 11:42

It may not have appeared at the top of many lists of "what the world could do with right now", but Peaches' return is as welcome more than ever. The planet could benefit from the insight of this woman and an album now more than ever. And Rub - despite its slightly odd cover - is it.

Peaches' skill is covering the underside of the sexualised pop industry, which has grown from titillation to borderline dead-eye porn since she made her debut with landmark The Teaches Of Peaches, and numbers such as 'Lovertits', 'Set It Off' and signature tune 'Fuck The Pain Away' in 2000. Having dabbled in co-writing with pop acts of the 00s, such as Christina Aguilera and Pink, she's more at home with collaborators such as - on previous albums - Joan Jett, Iggy Pop, Josh Homme, Feist and Soulwax.

Having spent the last few years serving Elaine Paige realness with her own stage musical Peaches Christ Superstar, as well as venturing into art book territory, Peaches felt like being a popstar again, and spent 2014 in her LA garage coming up with songs while coalescing ideas for a new long player. It could be argued that Peaches had pretty much set out her stall and covered the entire gamut of what it was possible to say over her previous four albums, but Rub seems much leaner and lighter. That's not to say her lyrics and performance have in any way had the edges worn down, in fact her wordplay - making words like "nuzzle" and "truffle" sound quite fruity - is as sharp as ever.

Opening with 'Close-Up', featuring Kim Gordon murmuring over a sleazy backdrop. It's as you'd imagine a collaboration between the two of them to sound, but there's still a thrill to be had hearing Gordon's voice on something approaching a song again.

You really wouldn't want to be the one on the receiving end of the tirade on 'Free Drink Ticket'. It's like Broken English in studded leather. Cruising in a menacing cello trap crawl. Pitched down and sounding a bit like it will be soundtracking many a situation involving a sling. Condensing all the rage and hate and violence of betrayal into four minutes. After recent revelations that her debut was a break-up album, it's more noticeable that beneath the potty-mouthed pervery, lurks emotional depth. Something like the radio-friendly-despite-the-title 'Dumb Fuck', is working on a deeper level than shallow shock.

Key track 'Light In Places' sees Peaches doing her own Moroder-bedded track, seeing as he foolishly overlooked her on his comeback. Accompanied by a video featuring performance artist Empress Stah's "pioneering laser butt plug show", any chance of the song featuring on The Box's Top 40 Rundown are considerably slim.

Rub is an album of well-sheened extremes. The rough edges and caught hairs and smudges are all still there, but you can't sit in your own mess forever, and it's to Peaches' credit that she's quietly pushing her sound into not necessarily new areas, but honing it into something uniquely her and instantly recognisable. Peaches proves that you can be in your face, and push boundaries sexually and have a laugh riot into the bargain. It's an album that works whether you're chuckling along to its fruitiness on the tube or working you up while Febreeze-ing a leather harness to get another night's wear out of it. She's her own thing, and all the more glorious for it.