Total Pageviews

Friday, September 30, 2011

Feist: Metals (Release Date: 10-4-2011)

        It's easy to lose Feist amidst the shuffle of indie standouts blowing up into the mainstream. She hasn't had an album top the charts yet like Vampire Weekend or Arcade Fire, and she doesn't belong to the much-ballyhooed folksy-revivalism of Fleet Foxes or Bon Iver. As a matter of fact, you could be forgiven for sleeping on Leslie Feist's solo career for the simple fact that she beat all of her gentle-hearted contemporaries to the point. Way, way back in 2007, her Third solo album, The Reminder, was blowing up all over the place, its main hit, 1234, reaching all the way up to number Eight on the charts, an accomplishment that none of the Four aforementioned artists have even come close to. Not only that, but The Reminder was showered with awards, including Four Grammy nominations, and it bares the singular distinction of being itunes' most downloaded album of the year 2007. When you line up all of the outstanding credentials that The Reminder can lay claim to, it's easy to see why the woman in charge may have opted to wait a few years before getting back up on the horse.

        What's obvious about Metals, from first track to last, is that Feist is a ridged adherent to the old idiom, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Lead single Why Don't You Ever Go There alluded to this truth in early August, Feist's breathy, layered chants leading the way into the woman's ever-emotive voice, hovering above a subtle piano, and contented percussion. It's a catchy little number and an earworm to boot, but there's a real lack of ambition in the thing. Coming from a woman who's career started in the no-holds-barred, invite-all-your-friends world of Broken Social Scene, only to evolve into a less complicated but no less orchestrated solo career, it's pretty disheartening to hear. Worse yet, from where I sit, it's the best thing that Metals has to offer.

        People have always accused Feist's music of being a bit too, 'Dinner-Party-Friendly,' for its own good, but those detractors fail to remember the insane levels of shimmering, beautiful catchiness that individual Reminder tracks had in spades. Behind 1234 came the surprisingly dark-tinted My Man, My Moon, the heart-string-tugging of I Feel It All, and the gooey, sing-a-long goodness of Brandy Alexander. Metals is a pleasant listen from start to finish, but the individual tracks simply don't pop. Opener The Bad In Each Other is clearly trying to, but its efforts come off as stained. Same goes for The Circle Married the Line, a track that builds towards a string-laden climax, but it just doesn't possess the cathartic intonations that many The Reminder tunes did. The songs that don't fall victim to this type of over-zealousness come off a bit on the boring side, Bittersweet Melodies and Caught a Long Wind nearly lulling their listeners to sleep. Feist's art is a subtle One, and because of that, Metals might be something of a grower, so I feel wrong writing it off right away. As is, however, I find a sacred few of the individual songs manage to make a unique, whistle-ready impressions on me, a complaint that I wouldn't dream of putting on The Reminder in a million years. That album was a stunning example of what, 'Dinner Party Music,' could really be: Metals is just, 'Dinner Party Music.'

Grade: C

No comments:

Post a Comment