Feist
Metals


3.5
great

Review

by Conrad Tao EMERITUS
October 31st, 2011 | 36 replies | 11,466 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Wear walking shoes.

Leslie Feist's response to her brief stint as world dominator is a predictably "uncommercial" affair, forgoing the buoyancy of the excellent (if overpraised) The Reminder for a more dirt-inflected sound. Which might sound like an overly facile grab at authenticity in somebody else's hands, but Metals affects with - get this - its sentiency. Yes, an album that is more consciously intimate than its predecessor also feels more comprehensively alive. Chalk it up to Feist's vocal presence, which is more nuanced and palpably human here than it's ever been. But let's also not ignore the skillful production at the hands of frequent collaborators Chilly Gonzalez and Mocky, which effectively calls to mind great dusty vistas, old tree trunks, and, oh sure, monochromatic landscapes like the one running through that gorgeous album cover.

Thanks to this deft touch, these twelve songs sound uniformly fantastic; they also sound fairly uniform. But unlike many other sonically one-note records, of which there are many in the world of guitar-driven indie pop, Metals feels absolutely committed to both its aesthetic and its resolutely still emotional center. Throughout, Leslie Feist sounds weary and even straight-up sad, her voice's inescapable warmth serving less as a source of radiance than a last glimmer of hope. "Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, bring 'em all back to life," she sings on "Graveyard" while lost in a chorus of her own detachment, as if desperately calling for that spark to return in some effusive form. But Feist isn't terribly interested in writing hopeful songs anymore, preferring to dwell in newly dour lands populated by deep piano accents, mournful string lines, unadorned acoustic guitar strums, and earthbound drums. And this musical garb fits Feist to a T - certainly better than it did for Lykke Li on the similarly-minded Wounded Rhymes - because it feels, for all its difference from the cuter stylings of Feist's previous work, like an organic and inevitable artistic progression.

So if Metals is just a bit too drab to really represent Feist at her peak - an artist whom I suspect we haven't yet heard - it's an exciting development. "A Commotion" is driven by persistent, driving chords played by solo strings and piano, while a group of men is heard shouting the titular phrase four times before Feist bursts into one of the best choruses she's ever put to record - "If it rips you all apart / the grudge has still got your heart" is one of the loveliest couplets of the year. But the song is most urgent and tactile in its final minute, when the instrumentation drops out, leaving Feist to sing whilst surrounded by her own wordless utterances. It's a jaw-on-the-floor moment on an album more given to subtler turns of phrases; "Undiscovered First" cuts loose in a similar manner, but it's less convincing, the build-up leading to the song's climax ultimately feeling unnecessary. I'm fine with sleepier cuts like the beautiful "Anti-Pioneer", which mines great emotional pull out of the album's characteristically sparse setup. When Feist vocalizes in gorgeous harmony against herself, her unspoken pain feels real. When the album responds in turn, its violins sliding downwards slowly and deliberately, it feels genuinely aching. Such revelatory experiences are only fleeting, yet they exist. And so, Metals, in its muted, gray imperfection, feels vital - even when it isn't.



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user ratings (156)
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3.5
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Dylan S. (4)
Feist makes a warm and welcome return to the industry....


Comments:Add a Comment 
conradtao
Emeritus
October 31st 2011



2090 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Lovely album.

AtavanHalen
October 31st 2011



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I dunno, it's okayyyyyyyyy but it sure as fuck is no Let It Die

cvlts
October 31st 2011



8954 Comments


saw this for sale at a starbucks in some piece of shit redneck town in montana.

i lol'd

cute album

RosaParks
October 31st 2011



14863 Comments


she made that one song that annoyed the shit out of me, "1234"
ew

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
October 31st 2011



23807 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

1 2 3 4 sweet n lows in your coffee

rasputin
October 31st 2011



14540 Comments


loved the first album, am yet to hear this one

Valerius
October 31st 2011



1137 Comments


Meh.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
October 31st 2011



6443 Comments


Things I heard off this were excellent, eager to hear this.
Is there a stream of this floating on the internet somewhere, perhaps?

And btw, congrats on your promotion, Conrad.

Digging: Interpol - El Pintor

STOP SHOUTING!
October 31st 2011



631 Comments


Lovely review.

captaincrunch11
October 31st 2011



1199 Comments


Cute Album [2]

fuckthatnoise
October 31st 2011



1479 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

album rules like u don't even know.

this >>> the reminder in virtually every way.

natey
October 31st 2011



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

damn uncommercialness

Waior
October 31st 2011



11451 Comments


I really love this review. I've yet to hear this album but have yet to be disappointed by Feist thus far so I'm confident all will be as you've promised.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
October 31st 2011



4927 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I love surprise albums

conradtao
Emeritus
October 31st 2011



2090 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Now that the record is out, clercqie, I don't think there are any full streams floating around. But you can hear a four-song sampler here: http://www.listentofeist.com/metals/

And thanks for the well wishes!

Chrisjon89
November 1st 2011



3528 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review.

I think it's a pleasant listen but it's missing something I can't put my finger on. Call it zazz or zing. I really think it would have benefited from a catchy track or two.

She was probably deliberately trying to sidestep that kind of thing this time and there goes whatever indie cred I had but there's no shame in stuff like '1 2 3 4' or 'My Moon My Man'.

And this has so much competition from other recent releases that I rarely listen to it.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
November 2nd 2011



6443 Comments


Thanks for the link, Conrad : )

FromDaHood
Contributing Reviewer
November 2nd 2011



9033 Comments


I promised myself I would review this album but I'm totally not going to

Itwasthatwas
November 4th 2011



769 Comments


Love the album art. Gonna check this out tonight.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
November 6th 2011



7177 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Conrad Tao, schooling us in review writing since 2010. My only complaint is that the album rating doesn't seem to match the tone of the review; but that's splitting hairs, really.

Digging: Ty Segall - Manipulator



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