Album review: Feist's 'Metals'
What a beautiful record. Truly gorgeous, the kind that wins both hearts and awards — perfect for a dinner party, a drive along Pacific Coast Highway, or a good, healthy cry. It’s the record that Leslie Feist, who records as Feist, has hinted at on four earlier solo albums over the last dozen years.
On “Metals,” the Canadian American harnesses all her gifts to create something essential: the matter-of-fact gorgeousness of her voice, best illustrated on her massive 2007 hit, “1234”; the way she mixes complicated emotions with equally complicated arrangements while making it all seem so effortless; and a versatility that allows her to craft a compilation’s worth of sounds and approaches without lapsing into pastiche. Granted, “Metals” isn’t a particularly dangerous record; your mom and dad will dig this, so will your daughter. But at least they’ll agree on something.
On “Metals,” the 35-year-old singer and multi-instrumentalist taps into vast pockets of seemingly undiscovered space within the four-minute pop song, which she fills with an orchestra’s worth of musicians and instruments. Hollow tom-tom drums echo through “Bittersweet Melodies,” which sounds like a Big Star cover; on “Undiscovered First,” the songwriter transforms a waltz into a tambourine-and-pound-driven dirge about mountaineers, and the quest for beauty and discovery. The album’s closer, a soft, resolved plea called “Get It Wrong, Get It Right,” is, well, just perfect.
(Cherrytree / Interscope)
Four stars (Out of four)
— Randall Roberts