Time Out New York
October 30 - November 6, 1997

Album Reviews

Peach Union
Audiopeach (Epic)

The past few years' frenzied proliferation of '80s nostalgia compilations and soundtracks has inspired much much moist-eyed mourning for that departed decade. What it failed to inspire was a modern-day group dealing in rampant melodrama, unabashed artificiality and profligate production values. The best attempt at filling this lamentable void comes from British trio Peach Union.

The group - Pascal Gabriel, who cut-and-pasted beats for UK pop-collage pioneers S'Express and Bomb the Bass; onetime Peter Murphy associate Paul Statham; and willowy front-blond Lisa Lamb - pays lip service to the notion of creating classic, timeless pop with just a tantalizing hint of modern debauchery. They're aching to be perceived as Kraftwerk with a repertoire by Bacharach and David, as a hybrid of Stereolab and Serge Gainsbourg or as a bond theme by Beck. What they actually are happens to be better than any of these whimsical pairings.

Audiopeach is what might have happened if the Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield hadn't stopped at "What Have I Done To Deserve This" but had gone on to cement an entire career together. Peach Union's debut hit, "On My Own", is a stirring statement of intent; Lamb's measured delivery of a pre-Beatles girl singer melody sits atop a glacial backwash of droning synths and sound effects. Lamb stays similarly somber throughout, but the arrangements surrounding her grow increasingly grandiose.

"From This Moment On" features keyboard swells not heard since the days of The Lexicon Of Love, while "Deep Down Together" could be an outtake from Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret.

With likely future hits in the full-tilt HiNRG of "Give Me Tomorrow" and the heavy-lidded bossa nova of "Hush", Peach Union - better known at home simply as Peach but on these shores subject to potential transatlantic naming hassles that gave the world the English Beat, Yaz, the Charlatans UK and the London Suede - is well equipped to bear the standard of the '80s into the new millennium.

Jonathan Bernstein