Recordings: Feist – The Reminder

    It’s almost impossible not to fall for Leslie Feist. Maybe it’s her slow and steady voice, capable of seamlessly swaying from a soulful seductress’s cusp to a flirt’s soft valentine. Or maybe it’s her French-pop melodies, bouncy and paced like one of those old rollercoasters in late-1800s photographs, relying on the lilting cabaret whimsy of a piano, or – as her most trusted backup and vocal confidante – an acoustic guitar. But however she hooks you, Feist’s The Reminder makes the exchange a stimulating one, following the songstress through outwardly familiar waters that soon reveal themselves as something else entirely.

    Three years down the road from the indulgent sweet tooth of 2004 breakout Let It Die, Feist has traded in the sugar for a high dose of truth serum: Nearly every song, no matter how carefree or lighthearted on the surface, is wrought with the ragged and bitter experience of losing the one you love and learning to stand again. Opener “”So Sorry”” finds a solitary Feist, with only a guitar for company, pleading her man to come home – “”The Water”” then quietly regrets this naivete. Finally, the brilliant orchestration of “”1234″” tops off its progressive love-lost ambition with show-tune attitude and a house band.

    Rhythms drive ever closer to the edge, with a rather extensive amount of hand claps and even more jazzy voice spins than usual – a la Nina Simone – but nothing jarring enough to remove us from Feist orbit. If The Reminder really reminds us of anything (apart from the therapeutic benefits of relationship-mimicking lyrics), it’s that Canada still makes ’em like they used to, and for this particular Broken Social Scener – who can still construct a (bitter)sweetly infectious tune with her eyes closed – there is still a while to the peak.

    Feist performs live at the Belly Up on June 30.

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