Peach Union

Audiopeach

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This pop trio from the U.K. owes much of its sound to other European pop machines such as Pet Shop Boys and Ace of Base. But there is a definite '60s influence in the band's sound, and Lisa Lamb's unremarkable but very capable vocal style adds to the fun, retro atmosphere. It is this combination of modern European dancefloor trends with the retro sensibility and Lamb's Nancy Sinatra-style vocals that bring Peach Union comparisons to ANOTHER European pop trio, Saint Etienne; the two groups sound so much alike, they can easily be confused in a blindfold test.

The opening track "On My Own" became a surprise Top 40 hit in the U.S. The tune would not sound out of place on any of Saint Etienne's releases, and the single's success came at a time when many British acts were virtually ignored by U.S. radio. Fans of Sarah Cracknell and the boys from Saint Etienne will surely appreciate "On My Own," as well as Etienne sound-alikes "Sorrow Town" and "Hush."

Despite the grandiose, Burt Bacharach and Hal David-style retro pop influence of some of the tracks on Audiopeach, the album isn't without its contemporary dance-loor touches; this is no surprise, since member Pascal Gabriel has been an in-demand producer (for such acts as Inspiral Carpets, EMF, and New Order) for years and has remixed the works of Yello, Can, and Erasure. The pulsing techno throb of "Deep Down Together," with its Donna Summer-"I Feel Love" sequencer line, virtually guarantees a crowded dancefloor, and up-tempo tunes like "Made in Vain" and "Higher Ground" are also worthy club anthems.

Peach Union isn't a terribly original band, and much of its material relies too heavily on atmosphere at the expense of melody, but Audiopeach has its virtues. The presence of Gabriel is a definite plus, and there certainly isn't anything wrong with being compared to Saint Etienne, one of the most unfairly overlooked pop bands of the 1990s. Audiopeach is an enjoyable, diverse collection from a promising band.

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