Monday, October 17, 2011

The Best Feist Yet

I love Canadian music. I love female artists. I love artists that originated out of the stacked Arts & Crafts record label. I really, really love when a great artist has gone on hiatus, collected themselves, and then comes back stronger than ever - with an absolutely incredible album to speak to it.

Well, that is exactly the case with the new Feist album. Metals, released September 30, is easily one of the strongest albums I've heard in quite some time - and is hands-down the best out of the Saskatchewan indie sweetheart. The collection of jangly, atmospheric rock tunes is breathtaking - highlighting Leslie Feist's calm and collected vocals, bouncy folk guitars, quirky percussion and deep lyrics that have spawned from her four-year time of reflection.

Opening track "The Bad in Each Other" is without-a-doubt the best song on this album, and one of the best of the year. Starting with a stomping clap-beat and transitioning into a memorable growling guitar loop, the song starts the phenomenal album on such an influential note. The darkish opening loop and verse rises into a beautifully emotional chorus where Feist chants alongside a male voice melancholy confessions like, "A good man and a good woman, bring out the bad in each other." Later, the profound clamour of saxes, strings and piano mold together as part of a wildly spiralling outro.

"How Come You Never Go There" was a golden find from first listen, however, it moreso resembles her more subdued, jazzy hits from past albums. We hear the new far-from-Apple-commercial concepts that her hiatus bred in songs like "The Undiscovered First", a howling folk tune featuring perfect electric mixed with slamming kickdrum and tambourine, and a choral uprising halfway through. Powerful, moody and peeling away layers from the second it starts - there's no doubt the ingredients of Feist's most recent songwriting experience were outside of her comfort zone at first, but as a result, genius. "Bittersweet Melodies" is exactly how it sounds - a ditty highlighting her tiny songbird voice in front of a light rapping drum and sweet-as-pie melody. "The Circle Married The Line" has a haunting tone to it; one that will undoubtedly garner critical acclaim for its pleasant countryside chords, twinkling xylophone and her magical yelps and croons punctuating each minute. "Cicadas and Gulls" is one that I can tell will grow more on me with each new listen, and it's another one of those glorious songs that fits like a glove into its title. The quiet seaside flow of this simple tune features echoing vocals and an unobtrusive guitar melody - and if you can, it will need to see the sun when you play it, maybe even from a waterfront of sorts.

Either way, this album and it's diverse mix of experimentations and oddities has really turned out perfectly, and will inevitably secure her reputation as an artist who can do little wrong. She's innovative, eternally talented and beautifully creative. If anything's learned after listening carefully to this gorgeous piece of artwork, it's that the music world could use a few more Feists. Or at least many more albums like this one.




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