FEISTMETALSORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 3RD 20111YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2011 RANKING: #22Things always seemed so simple for Leslie Feist. Then she became an internationally recognisable artist on the back of her third record, The Reminder, and everything was turned on its head. That record’s lessons on love remain a blueprint for relationships and all of their ups and downs, yet even despite its occassionally downcast perspective it now feels positively jubilant in contrast to her fourth record, Metals. It’s clear that Feist has undergone a transition of sorts in the four years between these two records. From playing hushed, intimate venues to ones five times the size where the majority of the audience leaves after 1234 has finished, Feist’s brief stint in the spotlight was no doubt overwhelming for someone unaccustomed to such grandiose accolades and critical eyes. Metals is the sound of an artist responding to that unexpected success with a sensitivity and candor that is likely to win her new fans, but the kind who will stick around for the next record. And the one after that. Meanwhile, those who couldn’t make it to the next song and left the show early will somehow forget that she still exists, and she’ll be just fine with that. The Reminder clocked up US sales of close to 1 million. Metals, after one year, has just passed 140,000.It’s unfair to suggest that Metals tries desperately to disassociate itself with The Reminder, since it follows a similar progression to that record’s tonal qualities, but this is a much more socially aware Feist that we’re left to grapple with. Opening track The Bad In Each Other is the strongest song she has released so far, packing ever weightier punches as it climaxes with clattering percussion. When I say strongest, I don’t mean that I think it’s her best song. Feist possesses a fragile yet potent vocal ability that enables her to sing songs like So Sorry and Intuition, stripped of instrumentation, with very little effort, and still hold her audience rapt. We’ve become so accustomed to experiencing Feist as an acoustic chanteuse that when she really builds on those simple rhythmic permutations, such as on The Bad In Each Other, the results are often spellbinding. Graveyard follows in a similar fashion yet builds a rousing chorale of backing vocals towards its grey, muted backdrop. “Bring ‘em all back to life,” it repeats, sitting somewhere between a resuscitation and a deeply controlled sigh. The pounding vocal chants of A Commotion provide an unexpected curveball as stop-start percussion rumbles around an unrelenting piano line. As perhaps the most unconventional moment on the record, it gives creedance to the claim that it’s formed from the basic elements of The Reminder highlight Sea Lion Woman.Metals is filled with these sort of unconventional idiosyncrasies, yet only on A Commotion do they feel truly experimental. Other examples, such as the sumptuous sliding strings that surrender Anti-Pioneer to a cavernous expanse beyond its control, feel perfectly logical yet unexpected all at once. That’s mainly because Metals remains a very elemental record from the word go, concerned with nature and the immediate surroundings in a way that most records don’t. Feist is fascinated by the elements, or rather, the uncontrollable aspect of the elements. Caught A Long Wind never lifts itself beyond a flutter as strings quivver on the egde of a precipice, somehow making physical the static in the air before a storm hits. The second half of Metals is noticably more introvert than the first with big ballads like Anti-Pioneer and Undiscovered First taking the lead. Then there are the stripped down and ridiculously serene numbers like Comfort Me and Cicadas And Gulls. The former approaches the uncertainty of a relationship with an interesting take on vocals that rise to a spirited finale. The latter, meanwhile, pushes Feist into the sky with the birds as a solitary acoustic guitar provides just the right amount of foreground presence for an otherwise dreamy performance that drifts off into its own state of divine reverie. Suddenly, knowing that Feist built a studio in Big Sur overlooking the ocean within which to make this record makes total sense. It’s also pretty safe to say that winning the prestigious Polaris Music Prize was not within her mindset one little bit.A few weeks after the release of Metals I had the privilege of seeing Feist perform live at the London Palladium. Whilst it wasn’t the most memorable concert experience of my life, I was particularly impressed with her interaction with the audience and the way she really tried to incorporate them into the mix by ushering them to sing certain refrains or hooks that form the very foundation of these great songs. There were moments, such as on Bittersweet Melodies (the gently humming melody that opens the song before the first verse), where she would protract the little slithers of magic that are often taken for granted and briefly spotlight them for the beautiful simplicity of just being what they are. I found this attempt to internalise the music incredibly endearing. In moments like this, time almost stood still, and it felt wonderful to be a part of an audience in unison chanting a particular phrase over and over. Metals is definitely not a one man effort, and this can be heard in the disparate instrumentation throughout. There is very much a collaborative band at work here, and yet it inspires a desire to remove oneself from the world, to retreat. The closing song on The Reminder, How My Heart Behaves, was a gorgeous languid exercise in the confessional singer-songwriter vein. In that sense it’s similar to Metals' closing track, Get It Wrong, Get It Right. Feist may be a lot more aware of her position within the world and Metals definitely keeps one eye fixed on the ominous horizon, yet you’d never think so on this final song. “Cold outside, warm by the fire,” she coos, with a genuine intensity that is hard to fake. At that moment, nothing matters but the moment itself. Condensing complex situations or sounds into sublime, simplistic formats is one of her many endearing qualities.

FEIST
METALS

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 3RD 2011
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2011 RANKING: #22


Things always seemed so simple for Leslie Feist. Then she became an internationally recognisable artist on the back of her third record, The Reminder, and everything was turned on its head. That record’s lessons on love remain a blueprint for relationships and all of their ups and downs, yet even despite its occassionally downcast perspective it now feels positively jubilant in contrast to her fourth record, Metals. It’s clear that Feist has undergone a transition of sorts in the four years between these two records. From playing hushed, intimate venues to ones five times the size where the majority of the audience leaves after 1234 has finished, Feist’s brief stint in the spotlight was no doubt overwhelming for someone unaccustomed to such grandiose accolades and critical eyes. Metals is the sound of an artist responding to that unexpected success with a sensitivity and candor that is likely to win her new fans, but the kind who will stick around for the next record. And the one after that. Meanwhile, those who couldn’t make it to the next song and left the show early will somehow forget that she still exists, and she’ll be just fine with that. The Reminder clocked up US sales of close to 1 million. Metals, after one year, has just passed 140,000.


It’s unfair to suggest that Metals tries desperately to disassociate itself with The Reminder, since it follows a similar progression to that record’s tonal qualities, but this is a much more socially aware Feist that we’re left to grapple with. Opening track The Bad In Each Other is the strongest song she has released so far, packing ever weightier punches as it climaxes with clattering percussion. When I say strongest, I don’t mean that I think it’s her best song. Feist possesses a fragile yet potent vocal ability that enables her to sing songs like So Sorry and Intuition, stripped of instrumentation, with very little effort, and still hold her audience rapt. We’ve become so accustomed to experiencing Feist as an acoustic chanteuse that when she really builds on those simple rhythmic permutations, such as on The Bad In Each Other, the results are often spellbinding. Graveyard follows in a similar fashion yet builds a rousing chorale of backing vocals towards its grey, muted backdrop. “Bring ‘em all back to life,” it repeats, sitting somewhere between a resuscitation and a deeply controlled sigh. The pounding vocal chants of A Commotion provide an unexpected curveball as stop-start percussion rumbles around an unrelenting piano line. As perhaps the most unconventional moment on the record, it gives creedance to the claim that it’s formed from the basic elements of The Reminder highlight Sea Lion Woman.


Metals is filled with these sort of unconventional idiosyncrasies, yet only on A Commotion do they feel truly experimental. Other examples, such as the sumptuous sliding strings that surrender Anti-Pioneer to a cavernous expanse beyond its control, feel perfectly logical yet unexpected all at once. That’s mainly because Metals remains a very elemental record from the word go, concerned with nature and the immediate surroundings in a way that most records don’t. Feist is fascinated by the elements, or rather, the uncontrollable aspect of the elements. Caught A Long Wind never lifts itself beyond a flutter as strings quivver on the egde of a precipice, somehow making physical the static in the air before a storm hits. The second half of Metals is noticably more introvert than the first with big ballads like Anti-Pioneer and Undiscovered First taking the lead. Then there are the stripped down and ridiculously serene numbers like Comfort Me and Cicadas And Gulls. The former approaches the uncertainty of a relationship with an interesting take on vocals that rise to a spirited finale. The latter, meanwhile, pushes Feist into the sky with the birds as a solitary acoustic guitar provides just the right amount of foreground presence for an otherwise dreamy performance that drifts off into its own state of divine reverie. Suddenly, knowing that Feist built a studio in Big Sur overlooking the ocean within which to make this record makes total sense. It’s also pretty safe to say that winning the prestigious Polaris Music Prize was not within her mindset one little bit.


A few weeks after the release of Metals I had the privilege of seeing Feist perform live at the London Palladium. Whilst it wasn’t the most memorable concert experience of my life, I was particularly impressed with her interaction with the audience and the way she really tried to incorporate them into the mix by ushering them to sing certain refrains or hooks that form the very foundation of these great songs. There were moments, such as on Bittersweet Melodies (the gently humming melody that opens the song before the first verse), where she would protract the little slithers of magic that are often taken for granted and briefly spotlight them for the beautiful simplicity of just being what they are. I found this attempt to internalise the music incredibly endearing. In moments like this, time almost stood still, and it felt wonderful to be a part of an audience in unison chanting a particular phrase over and over. Metals is definitely not a one man effort, and this can be heard in the disparate instrumentation throughout. There is very much a collaborative band at work here, and yet it inspires a desire to remove oneself from the world, to retreat. The closing song on The Reminder, How My Heart Behaves, was a gorgeous languid exercise in the confessional singer-songwriter vein. In that sense it’s similar to Metals' closing track, Get It Wrong, Get It Right. Feist may be a lot more aware of her position within the world and Metals definitely keeps one eye fixed on the ominous horizon, yet you’d never think so on this final song. “Cold outside, warm by the fire,” she coos, with a genuine intensity that is hard to fake. At that moment, nothing matters but the moment itself. Condensing complex situations or sounds into sublime, simplistic formats is one of her many endearing qualities.

FEISTMETALSORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 3RD 20111YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2011 RANKING: #22Things always seemed so simple for Leslie Feist. Then she became an internationally recognisable artist on the back of her third record, The Reminder, and everything was turned on its head. That record’s lessons on love remain a blueprint for relationships and all of their ups and downs, yet even despite its occassionally downcast perspective it now feels positively jubilant in contrast to her fourth record, Metals. It’s clear that Feist has undergone a transition of sorts in the four years between these two records. From playing hushed, intimate venues to ones five times the size where the majority of the audience leaves after 1234 has finished, Feist’s brief stint in the spotlight was no doubt overwhelming for someone unaccustomed to such grandiose accolades and critical eyes. Metals is the sound of an artist responding to that unexpected success with a sensitivity and candor that is likely to win her new fans, but the kind who will stick around for the next record. And the one after that. Meanwhile, those who couldn’t make it to the next song and left the show early will somehow forget that she still exists, and she’ll be just fine with that. The Reminder clocked up US sales of close to 1 million. Metals, after one year, has just passed 140,000.It’s unfair to suggest that Metals tries desperately to disassociate itself with The Reminder, since it follows a similar progression to that record’s tonal qualities, but this is a much more socially aware Feist that we’re left to grapple with. Opening track The Bad In Each Other is the strongest song she has released so far, packing ever weightier punches as it climaxes with clattering percussion. When I say strongest, I don’t mean that I think it’s her best song. Feist possesses a fragile yet potent vocal ability that enables her to sing songs like So Sorry and Intuition, stripped of instrumentation, with very little effort, and still hold her audience rapt. We’ve become so accustomed to experiencing Feist as an acoustic chanteuse that when she really builds on those simple rhythmic permutations, such as on The Bad In Each Other, the results are often spellbinding. Graveyard follows in a similar fashion yet builds a rousing chorale of backing vocals towards its grey, muted backdrop. “Bring ‘em all back to life,” it repeats, sitting somewhere between a resuscitation and a deeply controlled sigh. The pounding vocal chants of A Commotion provide an unexpected curveball as stop-start percussion rumbles around an unrelenting piano line. As perhaps the most unconventional moment on the record, it gives creedance to the claim that it’s formed from the basic elements of The Reminder highlight Sea Lion Woman.Metals is filled with these sort of unconventional idiosyncrasies, yet only on A Commotion do they feel truly experimental. Other examples, such as the sumptuous sliding strings that surrender Anti-Pioneer to a cavernous expanse beyond its control, feel perfectly logical yet unexpected all at once. That’s mainly because Metals remains a very elemental record from the word go, concerned with nature and the immediate surroundings in a way that most records don’t. Feist is fascinated by the elements, or rather, the uncontrollable aspect of the elements. Caught A Long Wind never lifts itself beyond a flutter as strings quivver on the egde of a precipice, somehow making physical the static in the air before a storm hits. The second half of Metals is noticably more introvert than the first with big ballads like Anti-Pioneer and Undiscovered First taking the lead. Then there are the stripped down and ridiculously serene numbers like Comfort Me and Cicadas And Gulls. The former approaches the uncertainty of a relationship with an interesting take on vocals that rise to a spirited finale. The latter, meanwhile, pushes Feist into the sky with the birds as a solitary acoustic guitar provides just the right amount of foreground presence for an otherwise dreamy performance that drifts off into its own state of divine reverie. Suddenly, knowing that Feist built a studio in Big Sur overlooking the ocean within which to make this record makes total sense. It’s also pretty safe to say that winning the prestigious Polaris Music Prize was not within her mindset one little bit.A few weeks after the release of Metals I had the privilege of seeing Feist perform live at the London Palladium. Whilst it wasn’t the most memorable concert experience of my life, I was particularly impressed with her interaction with the audience and the way she really tried to incorporate them into the mix by ushering them to sing certain refrains or hooks that form the very foundation of these great songs. There were moments, such as on Bittersweet Melodies (the gently humming melody that opens the song before the first verse), where she would protract the little slithers of magic that are often taken for granted and briefly spotlight them for the beautiful simplicity of just being what they are. I found this attempt to internalise the music incredibly endearing. In moments like this, time almost stood still, and it felt wonderful to be a part of an audience in unison chanting a particular phrase over and over. Metals is definitely not a one man effort, and this can be heard in the disparate instrumentation throughout. There is very much a collaborative band at work here, and yet it inspires a desire to remove oneself from the world, to retreat. The closing song on The Reminder, How My Heart Behaves, was a gorgeous languid exercise in the confessional singer-songwriter vein. In that sense it’s similar to Metals' closing track, Get It Wrong, Get It Right. Feist may be a lot more aware of her position within the world and Metals definitely keeps one eye fixed on the ominous horizon, yet you’d never think so on this final song. “Cold outside, warm by the fire,” she coos, with a genuine intensity that is hard to fake. At that moment, nothing matters but the moment itself. Condensing complex situations or sounds into sublime, simplistic formats is one of her many endearing qualities.

FEIST
METALS

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 3RD 2011
1YRON’S TOP 52 RECORDS OF 2011 RANKING: #22


Things always seemed so simple for Leslie Feist. Then she became an internationally recognisable artist on the back of her third record, The Reminder, and everything was turned on its head. That record’s lessons on love remain a blueprint for relationships and all of their ups and downs, yet even despite its occassionally downcast perspective it now feels positively jubilant in contrast to her fourth record, Metals. It’s clear that Feist has undergone a transition of sorts in the four years between these two records. From playing hushed, intimate venues to ones five times the size where the majority of the audience leaves after 1234 has finished, Feist’s brief stint in the spotlight was no doubt overwhelming for someone unaccustomed to such grandiose accolades and critical eyes. Metals is the sound of an artist responding to that unexpected success with a sensitivity and candor that is likely to win her new fans, but the kind who will stick around for the next record. And the one after that. Meanwhile, those who couldn’t make it to the next song and left the show early will somehow forget that she still exists, and she’ll be just fine with that. The Reminder clocked up US sales of close to 1 million. Metals, after one year, has just passed 140,000.


It’s unfair to suggest that Metals tries desperately to disassociate itself with The Reminder, since it follows a similar progression to that record’s tonal qualities, but this is a much more socially aware Feist that we’re left to grapple with. Opening track The Bad In Each Other is the strongest song she has released so far, packing ever weightier punches as it climaxes with clattering percussion. When I say strongest, I don’t mean that I think it’s her best song. Feist possesses a fragile yet potent vocal ability that enables her to sing songs like So Sorry and Intuition, stripped of instrumentation, with very little effort, and still hold her audience rapt. We’ve become so accustomed to experiencing Feist as an acoustic chanteuse that when she really builds on those simple rhythmic permutations, such as on The Bad In Each Other, the results are often spellbinding. Graveyard follows in a similar fashion yet builds a rousing chorale of backing vocals towards its grey, muted backdrop. “Bring ‘em all back to life,” it repeats, sitting somewhere between a resuscitation and a deeply controlled sigh. The pounding vocal chants of A Commotion provide an unexpected curveball as stop-start percussion rumbles around an unrelenting piano line. As perhaps the most unconventional moment on the record, it gives creedance to the claim that it’s formed from the basic elements of The Reminder highlight Sea Lion Woman.


Metals is filled with these sort of unconventional idiosyncrasies, yet only on A Commotion do they feel truly experimental. Other examples, such as the sumptuous sliding strings that surrender Anti-Pioneer to a cavernous expanse beyond its control, feel perfectly logical yet unexpected all at once. That’s mainly because Metals remains a very elemental record from the word go, concerned with nature and the immediate surroundings in a way that most records don’t. Feist is fascinated by the elements, or rather, the uncontrollable aspect of the elements. Caught A Long Wind never lifts itself beyond a flutter as strings quivver on the egde of a precipice, somehow making physical the static in the air before a storm hits. The second half of Metals is noticably more introvert than the first with big ballads like Anti-Pioneer and Undiscovered First taking the lead. Then there are the stripped down and ridiculously serene numbers like Comfort Me and Cicadas And Gulls. The former approaches the uncertainty of a relationship with an interesting take on vocals that rise to a spirited finale. The latter, meanwhile, pushes Feist into the sky with the birds as a solitary acoustic guitar provides just the right amount of foreground presence for an otherwise dreamy performance that drifts off into its own state of divine reverie. Suddenly, knowing that Feist built a studio in Big Sur overlooking the ocean within which to make this record makes total sense. It’s also pretty safe to say that winning the prestigious Polaris Music Prize was not within her mindset one little bit.


A few weeks after the release of Metals I had the privilege of seeing Feist perform live at the London Palladium. Whilst it wasn’t the most memorable concert experience of my life, I was particularly impressed with her interaction with the audience and the way she really tried to incorporate them into the mix by ushering them to sing certain refrains or hooks that form the very foundation of these great songs. There were moments, such as on Bittersweet Melodies (the gently humming melody that opens the song before the first verse), where she would protract the little slithers of magic that are often taken for granted and briefly spotlight them for the beautiful simplicity of just being what they are. I found this attempt to internalise the music incredibly endearing. In moments like this, time almost stood still, and it felt wonderful to be a part of an audience in unison chanting a particular phrase over and over. Metals is definitely not a one man effort, and this can be heard in the disparate instrumentation throughout. There is very much a collaborative band at work here, and yet it inspires a desire to remove oneself from the world, to retreat. The closing song on The Reminder, How My Heart Behaves, was a gorgeous languid exercise in the confessional singer-songwriter vein. In that sense it’s similar to Metals' closing track, Get It Wrong, Get It Right. Feist may be a lot more aware of her position within the world and Metals definitely keeps one eye fixed on the ominous horizon, yet you’d never think so on this final song. “Cold outside, warm by the fire,” she coos, with a genuine intensity that is hard to fake. At that moment, nothing matters but the moment itself. Condensing complex situations or sounds into sublime, simplistic formats is one of her many endearing qualities.

Notes:

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1YRON aims to shine the spotlight on albums exactly one year after their release. Presented as an alternative to writing about them instantaneously, I hope to recall the album in question with a fondness of time having passed. Perhaps you may even be inspired to go back and discover something new.

Since physical and digital release dates often vary worldwide (the US commonly a day after the UK for example, or for smaller releases, sometimes weeks or months apart), these reviews will only be published on their UK or US physical release date (whichever comes first).

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