Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Feist - Metals (2011)
One of the perks of being a good singer/songwriter is you’re allowed an almost limitless opportunity to display raw, vulnerable moments without fear of judgment and yet Feist has taken the emotional high road time and time again. After about a four year break, Leslie Feist is back with a brand new batch of tunes. While she has lent her talents to numerous friend’s albums and projects and produced her own documentary, Metals marks Feist’s return to full length album releases and attempt to reclaim her place amongst the smart, able songwriters that were once her peers.
Enlisting the aid of frequent collaborators Chilly Gonzales and Mocky, Metals’ greatest strengths are in the production and arrangements. These tools are really what make several of the tracks sparkle; the dreamy atmosphere of “Caught a Long Wind”, the blustering cacophony of “A Commotion”, the assaulting background vocals of “Undiscovered First”. These moments are essentially what make the songs. Feist vocals are beautiful but there’s a bit of a disconnect. Though the album never comes off as a weeping pitying affair or even like a true break up album, there’s hints of foul-play and conflict that might have benefitted if Metals were a bit more confessional.
It’s obvious that Metals is a richly layered album that has much to offer in multiple listens but it really falters lyrically. Feist has always utilized nature imagery in her songs but on Metals you’re practically inundated by it. Sure there are little moments like the sardonic wit of “Comfort Me” where Feist croons “When you comfort me, it doesn’t bring me comfort actually” but for the most part, the lyrics don’t really register or resonate. They’re just kind of there alongside some absolutely amazing melodies and spectacular music moments. Metals is accessible but not particularly innovative. So while it’s perfectly enjoyable to listen to, it doesn’t quite pay off the four years Feist’s spent building up to it. But if it’s between this or another four years of waiting, we’ll take what we can get.