For most people out there, the name Leslie Feist is directly related to the 2007’s hit “1234”. The pop gem came with a viral visual – that I’m 100% sure you’ve watched – and sound-tracked from iPod’s commercials to children’s TV shows. It turned the Canadian singer into a worldwide phenomenon and served as a platform to promote her brilliant and diverse album ‘The Reminder’ – as must-listen including her Nina Simone’s cover.
The commercial success was a double-edged sword. Feist released ‘Metals’ four years after, proving that she was not interested at all in continuing the way established in ‘The Reminder’. ‘Metals’ was lo-fi, with a feeling of basement atmospheres and exploring new frontiers. It is a great album, but the shadow of ‘The Reminder’ was too large to overcome and ‘Metals’ went almost unnoticed.
Six years after, the Calgary-native artist burst into with ‘Pleasure’, her fifth studio album, and she makes clear again that she is still keen on exploring but this time, she allows herself to have a brief look at the past. The LP was written during difficult times fo Feist when she was struggling with depression, although she’s never clearly stated that. She announced it was going to be a raw album, ’cause she was feeling raw as well. ‘Pleasure’ is dark and unexpected, it’s emotional and heartbreaking and proves why she is such an indie icon.
The opening title-track was a statement of what we can find along the album. Its bluesy guitars, which reminds of ‘Metals’, its lo-fi rock arrangements and Feist’s unmistakable voice rose praises and inevitably recalls PJ Harvey – such a compliment. It is an outstanding comeback and a call from the Canadian indie queen: as she was saying “I might have been hiding for a while, but I’m planning to leave my long-lasting mark”. ‘Century’ – her second cut off the album and her collaboration with Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker – is a guitar-driven tune with unceasing drums that shares the rawness of ‘Pleasure’ and the noisy melodies you come across in ‘Metals.’ Feist as rock as it gets.
It’s my pleasure and your pleasure
That’s the same
That’s what we’re here for!
‘Baby Be Simple’ and ‘I Wish I Didn’t Miss You’ show the most tender side of the artist. Either the introspective view on a crumbling relationship on the former, or the smothering feeling of a failed relationship on the latter, Feist is capable of wrenching your heart with a simple guitar and her striking vocals. These two tunes might remind the listener to her powerful ballads from ‘The Reminder’, like ‘The Park’ or ‘Brandy Alexander’, but in ‘Pleasure’ everything is coated with a darker aura. ‘Lost Dreams’ also recalls some of the heavier parts of ‘The Reminder’, with a haunting feeling of melancholia.
Try to find a way to talk about it
I’m also in the mind to just let it go
How to reach out my mind if I can’t think straight
With the goodness so gone I feel to isolate
‘Pleasure’ will not escape from the nature-based metaphors that Feist has grown so fond of during her career. This time these metaphors that she uses to explain complex human relationships and feelings, are somehow scarce, finding some traces on ‘The Wind’: “and I’m shaped by my storming like they’re shaped by their storming.” The peak of bluesy guitars comes with ‘I’m Not Running Away’, but the highlight on this album is certainly ‘Any Party’ pharmaciepourhomme.fr. Its acoustic folky riff is just mesmerizing and her cry about real love and the sing-along choruses is a contrast to the downbeat tunes that dominates the album. By the end of the song we hear Fesit stepping out from a party while ‘Century’ is played in the background. But before she leaves, we have already shared her feeling, cause we all have someone who we’d leave a party for.
“You know I’d leave any party for you
No party’s so sweet as our party of two
I’m getting tired of these clowns and balloons honey
You know I’d leave any party for you.”
Sometimes Less Is More, and the Canadian singer applies this motto to perfection in her new album. It might mean a disappointment for fans of ‘1234’, but somehow this is pure Feist. ‘Pleasure’ is stunning, and one of her best works. Welcome back!
Universal Records | 2017
Tracklist & Stream