Monday, November 7, 2011
Feist - Metals review
Feist's last record The Reminder was a huge success but I have to admit it did little for me. I did listen to it and while I'm overly familiar with the singles (which seemed to be used in every ad imaginable for the last few years), I just found it a bit light and never really returned to it. I say this just because I am shocked by how much I love Metals. During the intervening years since The Reminder, it seems as if Feist has lost a little of her preppy spark, maybe had her heart broken and maybe been listening to a lot of soul albums as Metals is all the better for it. That indie-soul sound that Cat Power has mastered on her last two records is all over this record and while she doesn't quite have the smokey intensity of Chan Marshall's voice, Feist sounds strong and soulful here.
The opener The Bad in Each Other is built on a little blues riff that explodes into a glorious half-time chorus while the exquisite torch ballad Caught a Long Wind showcases Feist's strength as a vocalist - knowing when to hold back and when to unleash her voice in a way that compliments the song. Feist's singing is tasteful and restrained and while the album covers a lot of heartbreak, it never seems like a chore or overly dramatic, it is merely beautiful. For me the best track on the album is The Undiscovered First with its goosepimple inducing chain-gang thump finale and slightly unhinged feel.
There are a couple of missteps though, the frenzied crush of A Commotion sounds like it was more fun to record than listen to and once you realise that the vocal hook in Bittersweet Melodies is identical to Don't Go Breaking My Heart, it is impossible to unhear. Further, some of the lyrics and sounds are occasionally a little to close Cat Power's and while they may be referential shout outs (I have no idea), as a Cat Power fan I tend to find them distracting. Don't get me wrong, these are minor quibbles on an excellent record and one that took me by surprise - engaging from the first listen and probably one of the best of the year.
(PS if you're like "Metals! Hellz yeah!" and then went "Feist! Pfffft whatever!", I'm about to write about the new Anthrax album for tomorrow. You're welcome).