Feist | The Reminder (Cherry Tree/Interscope)

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cd_feistWith The Reminder, Feist has emerged as the most solid of the rotating female vocalists from Broken Social Scene.

 

 

 

 

If you haven't already made your way to YouTube to check out Feist's brilliant music video for the song "1 2 3 4," a single-take, dress-down, Technicolor-outfitted homage to Busby Berkley, consider this your homework for the evening. If you have, then you probably have high expectations for Leslie Feist's second studio album following her stint with Canadian rockers Broken Social Scene. In many ways, you won't be disappointed, as long as you stick with her "1 2 3 4"-esque tracks. Feist has an addictive catchiness and bounciness to her poppier tunes that's severely lacking in some of her slower songs that attempt to showcase her distinctive but, at times, overbearing vocals. The title track of her previous album, Let It Die, is easily her finest attempt at a soulful ballad, one which isn't really matched here.

This isn't to fret, as The Reminder is still somehow a step forward, though in nearly the same direction. Missing is her sexy, jazzy cover of the Bee-Gee's "Inside and Out," but with enough spunky pop melodies, like "1 2 3 4" or her other single, "My Moon My Man," to satisfy immensely. Recording in a mansion outside of Paris, Feist expands her vocals to varying degrees within the album, particularly on "Intuition," where some obvious and unwelcome (in my book) comparisons to Joanna Newsom may arise. However, in some of the early tracks, Feist pushes her music into the realms of the sublimely bittersweet. In the album's opening track, "So Sorry," she laments, "We don't need to say goodbye/ We don't need to fight and cry/ We could hold each other tight/ tonight," in ways that are both beautiful and tragic.

With The Reminder, Feist has emerged as the most solid of the rotating female vocalists from Broken Social Scene, both lyrically and musically more mature than Metric's Emily Haines' solo album and anything I've ever heard from Stars. For Nina Simone fans, checking out Feist's cover of "See-Line Woman" is a must, and for those wanting more or less a sequel to Let It Die instead of an ambitious step in a different direction, the accurately titled The Reminder should find its way into your Sunday afternoon CD rotation. B+ | Joe Bowman

RIYL: The sort of music you'd imagine Françoise Hardy or Jane Birkin might be making now, with small hints of her Broken Social Scene roots

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