Album Review: Feist – Metals

Everyone loves Feist, don’t they? I think they probably do. But not everybody knows how far back her musical career stretches, the mad array of people she has collaborated with, or how absolutely brilliant she looks in a blue sequin jumpsuit. I have a full-on girl crush. She’s creative, exciting, daring, extremely talented and fit. Just saying.
Her career has been fairly unpredictable, riddled at times with creative frustration and critical slamming, and at others with awards binges and huge, perhaps detrimental, commercial success. Everyone went a bit Feist-crazy when we all thought we lived in the future with our touch screens in our minimal, airy, white-washed apartments drinking mint tea and living some cleansed, bohemian existence. It almost felt as if we couldn’t survive an ad break without hearing Feist’s uplifting vocals and her hand-clapping-life-reassurance songs, metaphorically cuddling us while Apple silhouettes danced the ‘EVERYTHING’S GREAT IN THE WORLD’ multi-coloured tango. Thing is, she’s actually just really good, and has far more to offer a listener than these brief snippets might lead you to believe.
Her voice is something very special, as are the superb arrangements of her songs. Masterful in both song-writing itself and artful covers of other equally brilliant songs, she is interesting and “quirky” without being awkward or self-conscious. 
Her new album Metals is still Feist, just more comfortable and free than we’ve heard her before. That ebbing, flowing voice is unmistakable, and her penchant for those crooning melodic patterns is still present. Her ability to sing gutsy, noisy songs whilst still sounding vulnerable is a truly enviable skill. What is striking about this record from the first note is its musical honesty. This has not been airbrushed and botoxed to make it more pleasing to the prime-time audience as many of her previous tracks had been; you can hear feet tapping and movement here. It’s refreshingly imperfect. From the frustrated, accusatory tone of How Come You Never Go There to the tranquility of Cicadas & Gulls, the songs are united by piano- and strings-heavy orchestration and, quite simply, a consistently high quality.
As a side note, my earphones broke on the tube half way through listening to this record for the first time. This meant that only my left ear could hear the songs and only the treble part of them at that and, to top it all off, I developed a corker of a headache because my ears got cross with each other. The main moral of this otherwise tedious, useless and self-indulgent story is that Feist still sounded absolutely brilliant. Pretty impressive, no?
Metals is available now, via Polydor Records
Anna Byrne


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