reviewed by Laura Stanley
Long gone are the days when Leslie Feist was simply known as a member of Broken Social Scene or “That lady who sings the song on the iPod commercial.” Feist has now become a household name and, if I may say so myself, a Canadian music icon.
Released at the beginning of October, Metals slowly began to reveal itself in August when various short videos and the album artwork were released. Enticing to say the least, the little hints could do nothing to prepare the listener (or at least me) for what was to come.
From that first thunderous down beat of the drums on the opening track, “The Bad In Each Other,” Feist draws you into her creation and into a world of intense emotion, elaborate musical arrangements, and a variety of songs that will make you question if you are listening to the same album.
Sticking with the romanticized notion of escaping somewhere to record, in this case to a studio on the side of a cliff in Big Sur, Feist and her team of Chilly Gonzales and Mocky, take a step back from the poppy, yet still depressing songs that took up the majority of The Reminder and settle into something a little more rich.
With its sparse instrumentation, mostly piano and guitar but with a beautifully arranged string section, “Caught A Long Wind” sounds like the minimalistic Feist of old, (see “Limit To Your Love” or “Now At Last”), in a good way, with a tenderness that’s obvious.
“How Come You Never Go There,” currently getting a lot of playing time and “The Circle Married The Line,” will charm you with their catchy melodies the former of which showcasing the beautiful use of Feist’s backing vocalists from the band Mountain Man, which are throughout Metals.
In a very evident transition, side-b of Metals features much more sentimental and raw sounding tracks. “Cicadas And Gulls” has a basic folk sound while “Anti-Pioneer,” a song which was ten years in the making, is bluesy. With its smoky-blues feel, “Anti-Pioneer” makes a great precursor to “Undiscovered First” and its multi-layered musical build.
My “aha moment” when listening to Metals came during track five, “A Commotion.” Similar to “Undiscovered First’s” build, “A Commotion” swells with intensity, capped off during the chorus when a group of booming male voices yell, “A commotion!”
Feist’s Metals changes between moments of raw vulnerability to intensity, passion, and confidence for such an intriguing album and one of the best of the year.
Top Tracks: “The Bad In Each Other,” “How Come We Never Go There,” “A Commotion,” “Undiscovered First”
Rating: Hunting Call (Excellent) + *swoop*