Album Review: Feist – ‘Metals’

A homespun gem of an album

She’s the one who did that iPod ad (‘1234’). She also wrote that plinky-plonky song found playing beneath the opening The Inbetweeners scene (‘I Feel It All’). And even [a]James Blake[/a] plumped a pouty take on ‘Limit To Your Love’ out the arse-end of 2010.

Leslie [a]Feist[/a] herself is much less ubiquitous. Suggest the million-selling singer is now a bona fide, prep-my-’copter popster and she’ll bat you away like a mosquito. And that’s why we like her: more than her hip hip-hop connections (as ever, her friend [a]Chilly Gonzales[/a] produces, this time alongside Dominic “Mocky” Salole) or membership of cult collective [a]Broken Social Scene[/a], it’s her warmness and humanity that elevate [a]Feist[/a] from respectability into consummate niftiness.

There’s plenty of this homespun superstardom on fourth LP ‘Metals’, forging weighty gems from heftier ore. Disguised as something your parents might listen to, the record is intricately melancholy (‘Caught A Long Wind’) and dismally intense (‘A Commotion’), all with a fragile-voiced glaze. “When you comfort me/It doesn’t bring me comfort actually/True life in haiku/Imbalances of fate out of the blue”, riddles ‘Comfort Me’, but top prize goes to ‘Graveyard’, an ode to not being dead – its refrain steals into the sublime via what is surely the most elegant high-jump of melody this side of ‘This Charming Man’. Her voice may be technically imperfect, but it’s gracefully and gently bursting with life.

[a]Feist[/a]’s increasingly substantial grasp of rumpled songwriting oomph fuses both into something removed from the flimsy ad-bound ephemera of yore, and where her earliest hit ‘Mushaboom’ secured a swish Silent Night mattress-hawking deal, ‘Metals’ is, in its own right, quite simply the cat’s pyjamas.

Jazz Monroe

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