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Album Review

by Feist


Review Date
15th November 2011
Reviewed by
Ivy Rossiter

It's so exciting to watch a much-loved artist grow and develop and successfully explore new directions. Feist's fourth album Metals stands on the shoulders of all her previous work, striving to new heights while still retaining what made her special in the earliest days of her career.

This is an album that demands your attention at the first moment, opening with a percussive lament for a lost relationship, a stonking bass drum pounding away at a grief-stricken sorrow. Rhythm reigns supreme in 'A Commotion', the incessant pounding of the verse feeding into a harmonic chorus that never quite gives up its pulse. 'Undiscovered First's explosion of harmony from a simple low guitar riff and singular vocal is like an exultant exclamation, a yelp of emotion that demands the stereo to be turned up loud to revel in the succulent layers of brass, vocal, percussion and guitar. Even the seemingly triumphant chorus of 'Graveyard' exists surrounded by a musical seriousness, emerging from the dark lyrical matter of "the beating heart / is empty of lifeā€¦ blood as ice is / an empty crisis".

Despite these changes, fans of The Reminder need not worry that Feist has altogether abandoned her earlier writing style. The gentle 'The Circle Married The Line' is Feist at her melodic best, and while the lighter 'How Come You Never Go There' with its doo-wop backing vocals, its jaunty beat and jazzy melody is a catchy piece of indie-pop heaven. Sometimes her poppier moments, such as 'Bittersweet Melodies', seem a little bland when compared to the darker moments on the record. But she is balancing new directions with older sensibilities, and the changes from song to song are often at fault, rather than the songs themselves. There are beautiful soft moments and there are demanding loud moments, without much middle-ground. When I think of splitting the album into twin EPs - a dark and a light - I feel each would hang together more easily than this album does as a whole. Despite the slightly bi-polar nature of the songs though, this is a definite move forward for an already highly respected musician, and my high expectations have been soundly met, if not exceeded.


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