While the name Leslie Feist may not ring any bells for many listeners, her music certainly will.  Performing under the mononym Feist, she released her first album, 2007’sThe Reminder, to near-universal critical acclaim. It garnered that praise for its mellow, bubble-gum singles, especially the infectious “1234” (also known as, “that song from the iPod Nano commercials”). But on her fourth endeavor, Metals, Feist shows a new level of depth and maturity that, while making for pleasant and easy listening, is ultimately forgettable.

Feist’s growth as an artist between The Reminder andMetals is clearly visible. Her vocals, in particular, have developed, with her full vocal range and talents finally showing through on tracks like “Cicadas and Gulls” and “Get it Wrong, Get it Right,” both of which succeed because of her soft yet powerful crooning. The album also shows Feist’s growth with its deviation from the perkier sound of her previous three albums in favor of more well-rounded, developed and earthier instrumentation and production.

The best song on the album is without a doubt the thumping opener, “The Bad in Each Other,” which incorporates a variety of drums and brass instruments to complement a powerful vocal performance and start the album off right.

The album continues with the lovely but haunting second track, “Graveyard.” The darker subject matter is a distinct departure from that of Feist’s previous work, but her sweeping vocals lend a hopeful and resilient tone to the otherwise bleak track.

One of the weaker points on the album comes with “A Commotion,” a track with a punctuated backbeat and out-of-place chants which distract from an otherwise appealing bridge and vocal performance and create a generally weird atmosphere that most listeners will find jarring and unpleasant.

While Metals is easy to listen to and may serve well as quiet background music in many scenarios, the album as a whole does nothing to distinguish itself from a sea of other downtempo indie outings. None of the tracks is particularly memorable and, when listened to consecutively, seem indistinguishable from one another, creating a monotonous and somewhat boring listening experience. Feist, with all her talent, could probably have done better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *