Feist | Metals

Cherrytree/Interscope (2011)
By RYAN REED  |  October 5, 2011
2.5 2.5 Stars

feist-main

Feist should be making perfect albums every time. The occasional Broken Social Scene vocalist/multi-instrumentalist has one of the loveliest voices in all of pop, and when she bothers to marry those transcendent pipes to colorful backdrops, she's in a league of her own. But Metals, just like her sophomore release, The Reminder, falls short of that promise. Metals packs more sonic punch than its 2007 predecessor, but the problem here is not with recording quality — it's libido. "Cicadas and Gulls" is offensively bland, Feist fingerpicking a beginner's acoustic guitar progression, improvising a half-formed vocal melody. She knows she has a spectacular voice, which is why she's so keen to do songs this stripped-down and rudimentary. But she's never been particularly good at that. Her 2004 debut, Let It Die, was absolutely everything except minimal: a jazzy, ultra-slick sonic orgy where no overdub was unwelcome. Her best loved singles ("Mushaboom," "1,2,3,4," "I Feel It All") are built on full-band layers, and even though The Reminder was as earthy as a Phish concert, the standouts felt immediate and alive, mainly because other people were in the room with her. Her worst songs have always been the most intimate, the ones where it sounds like she's recording by herself in a forest, armed with only an acoustic guitar and the chirping of birds. That streak continues here, far too often. There are exceptions: "Anti-Pioneer" has a brooding, post-rock arrangement that grows and swells with her orchestral backing. "The Circle Married the Line" is the heart-stopping centerpiece, all twinkling glockenspiels, pizzicato pulse, and woodwind flurries. It could easily be the soundtrack to a cathartic Hallmark commercial, but Feist's also one of the only artists on the planet who could make that idea worth pursuing. As for the sleepy, crawling filler? Let It Die, Feist. Let it die.
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Broken Social Scene, Phish,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY RYAN REED
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   WAVVES | AFRAID OF HEIGHTS  |  March 18, 2013
    "I Can't Dream," the closer on Wavves' fourth studio album, opens in a drunken lo-fi stupor — Nathan Williams warbling bratty, tone-deaf nonsense over hissy acoustic power chords.
  •   THE VIRGINS | STRIKE GENTLY  |  March 06, 2013
    After a half-decade of semi-obscurity, frontman Donald Cumming is redefining his band as the hipster sultans of swing.
  •   ATOMS FOR PEACE | AMOK  |  February 26, 2013
    Kid A , Radiohead's confounding electro-rock masterpiece, is officially hitting puberty.
  •   ATLAS GENIUS | WHEN IT WAS NOW  |  February 20, 2013
    Atlas Genius are schooled students of modern pop architecture, seamlessly bouncing from Coldplay-styled acoustic rock to fizzy Phoenix funkiness to deadpanned Strokes-ian guitar chug. But When It Was Now is more like an alt-pop NOW compilation than a joyous synthesis.
  •   FOALS | HOLY FIRE  |  February 11, 2013
    Even at their most expansive, Foals are digging into more primal territory.

 See all articles by: RYAN REED