Alternative & IndiePop
Arts & Crafts, Polydor, Cherrytree
Despite achieving very respectable critical
success with her last album and garnering huge popularity for being a constant
pillar in super-group Broken Social Scene, Leslie Feist has always maintained
That’s probably because she hasn’t had that
one big push. The Canadian’s occasional appearances in the mainstream light haven’t
exactly been conventional. Her 2007 single ‘1234’ was used to launch a new line
of iPod Nanos, was performed on Sesame Street in a segment to help children
to learn how to count and was generally ranked as one of the best songs of the
year – it was only bettered by Amy Winehouse’s ‘Rehab’ in Time Magazine.
The most peculiar Feist-related story has to be the bust-up between Shia Labeouf
and Michael Bay on the set of Transformers
3. Bay didn’t take too kindly to Labeouf’s insistence on playing Feist’s
‘Brandy Alexander’ out loud to prepare for a particularly emotional scene.
‘The Bad of Each Other’ opens Metals with the big clappy beats and
saxophone hooks that gave edge to so many of her other songs. It’s followed by
another familiar sound; the soft wavy quavers of her voice in ‘Graveyard’ and the
climax of choir backing in the chorus is vintage Feist.
Her voice takes centre stage again in the
sombre ballad ‘Caught a Long Wind’. ‘How Come You Never Go There?’ has an
r&b edge, while ‘A Commotion’ comes a little out of leftfield. Without ever
abandoning the elegance and sophistication of the preceding songs, it sounds
like a grand cabaret-musical number that explodes with male vocal chants in the
‘The Circled Married the Line’ and
‘Bittersweet Melodies’ are floaty numbers, and are followed by ‘Anti-Pioneer,’
which sets scenes of a dark smoky bar with its deep base and sporadic but
perfectly timed guitar plucks. ‘The Undiscovered First’ is driven by rusty
guitars and tambourines, and ‘Cicadas and Gulls’ is a stripped-down acoustic
song that is every bit as intricate in its lyrics as it is in the guitar-play:
‘Maps can be posed/ With you on your own/ And distance is brail/ And all it
‘Comfort Me’ is executed in a
similar vein, bar the big sing-along lighter-swaying finale, and ‘Get it Wrong, Get
it Right’ is the perfect chilled wind-down to the album. Like the imagery of
nature she uses, the lyrics are simple but warming.
Consider this a new step for Feist. With
every album, her sound has matured in every sense; mostly so in her writing.
Feist’s lyrics have gone from romantic ideals to wise proverbs. Fans of light and
bouncy songs like ‘Mushaboom’ from 2004’s Let
it Die and ‘My Moon, My Man’ from 2007’s The Reminder may find it hard to wrap their heads around a style
and tone that only occasionally made appearances on her previous albums. If
anything, the success of Metals will
come just as much from its draw of new fans.