REVIEW: Feist - Metals [2011]

The Canadian songstress is back to strum our heartstrings with an even darker side that we might have sensed lurking in the background of her previous albums..

Metals, out on Cherrytree/Interscope is the follow-up to her 2007 breakout, The Reminder.

Recorded in scenic Big Sur, Cali., Feist co-produced the album with longtime collaborators Chilly Gonzales and Mocky, as well as newcomer Valgeir SigurĂ°sson (Bjork, Bonnie "Prince" Billy). Metals marks Feist's celebratory return to the world stage.
And speaking to the collaborative process--be sure to check out the 12 incredibly stunning vignettes that coincide with the making of the album. Each one, offering a glimpse into the creative world, relationships and elements that make this release her most unique yet.

Opening with a bluesy, twangy guitar intro on 'The Bad In Each Other,' the album already has a much different tone when compared to her previous, poppy gems such as '1,2,3,4,' [The Reminder] or 'Mushaboom' [Let It Die]. With a louder, more energetic sound, it signals a true-grit, angsty revolution of sound. I liken this song to the audio opening of a wild journey movie, leaving the visual part up to the imagination.

Continuing along the darkening road, the next track is 'Graveyard.' With drum beats and pianos that takes its' queues from the off-kiltered vocals [much like The Kinks' Strangers], its continues to build suspense ultimately resulting in a choir of Feists decrying:
'Whoa-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah, bring 'em all back to life!'

Harkening back to her yester-years, 'How Come You Never Go There,' is likely to be the first single and the the foundation of many a remix. It combines the classic piano and vocal timings we have come to expect from Feist a groove that is undeniably toe-tapping. Although a bit Norah Jones-esque, the song gives old fans an easy transition into this album and reminds new fans of her roots.

'A Commotion' is just that--some drums, some horns and a whole lot of unmemorable sounds. The overall tempo of the album is slightly injured by this track and probably could have done without this one. Compared to the stripped down nature of the rest of this album, this one comes out of left field..

Easily the best track on here, 'Anti-Pioneer' is a down-tempo, down-trotten ballad which resonates the sounds of a low-lit lounge while beautifully showcasing Feist's true vocal prowess. All the musical elements come together wonderfully without overstepping the boundaries of their usefulness. While repeating the chorus throughout, the haunting manner in which its delivered with a peetering piano at the end is what truly gives the listener a chill:

"when the flag changes colours
the language knows
when the month changes numbers
it's time to go [home]..."

If you enjoyed the song 'The Park' [The Reminder] which was subsequently covered by several fellow musicians including the always fantastic Justin Vernon [aka, Bon Iver] then you would have no trouble appreciating the melodic nature of 'Cicadas & Gulls.' Perhaps the most laid back of all, its purpose is to unwind which it certainly does.

'Comfort Me'  opens with a simple Black Keys-esque guitar and soon becomes a driving, pounding force about half-way through. Delivering a steady drum, and a stream of notes sung by an unknown collective, it continues to climb, and suddenly crescendos and leaves Feist the final few moments to close.

Closing out the list is ' Woe Be.' A beautiful blues piano accompanies Leslie's vocals and offers a reflective melancholic fade out. A wonderful way to end, although Anti-Pioneer would have fit equally well as the closer, if not better. Still, certainly her best album to date. With a darker enrgy [that was not quite as angry as was suggested by some, ie. Rolling Stones..] and a new, less whimsical perspective I imagine that this will earn her some much deserved recognition for not sticking to one dynamic. If you just sort of 'liked' Feist before, you are certain to 'love' her on this one.

Check out Feist performing ''How Come You Never Go There?" on Letterman [10/4/2011]:

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