Leslie Feist, as a musician, has gained a lot of commercial success. Her music has been used to promote various products, and it's almost certain that people will remember her brightly coloured and fun video for her hit "1, 2, 3, 4" . A video which seemed to draw focus more to the glitzy outfits and dance routines than the song itself. With Metals as a whole, we see a much deeper and interesting side to Feist.
The album offers a much more stripped back view to Feist; veering away from the fun, mainstream sound we've seen in past releases. The album was recorded with her normal studio counter parts; Gonzales and Canadian producer Mocky and there is a sense that it has been written away from the world. Feist herself claimed that in the period of time in which she wrote Metals, she forgot how to play some of her old songs. In a way it comes across as a much more mature effort, from an already mature musician.
The album opener"The Bad In Each Other" sets the tone of what is to come. There is a great level of subtle bass playing under the encompassing horns and brass. A very sombre song, but still managing to keep the almost bad-ass feel which permeates from the rest of the album. "Graveyard" and "Caught A Long Wind" showcase Feist's haunting and crisp vocals; the impeccable and touching string work, the sudden loud, slightly alarming crescendos which are present throughout a lot of the album.
The album's lead single "How Come You Never Go There" is an unpredictable track, with it's strange time signature, and almost heaving saxophone and brass work, which plays a quintessential role through the whole album.
"Anti-Pioneer" is a track about someone moving around for a long time and never settling down apart from for one year. It is a very emotional and clearly a very autobiographical track, which gives us a deep insight into Feist and the years she has spent on the road.
Through "Undiscovered First", "Cicadas And Gulls" and "Comfort Me" we see a lot of the same techniques used throughout the album; unexpected loud crescendos, Leslie Feist's gentle vocals, incredibly tight and emotional strings and brass and wonderful guitar work. The great thing is that despite songs utilizing similar ideas to each other, the album is never boring. If it has used something similar earlier, it's re-invented and thrown out in new and unexpected ways.
The album as a whole shouldn't be "relaxing" and an easy listening album. It's dark and mysterious and sometimes unpredictable but somehow it manages to remain soothing and subtle. It's unavoidable that some people will stick this on in the back ground and zone out, paying no attention to the vocals, the harmonies, the group vocals, the twisting and changing brass and strings - and ultimately that's not a bad thing. The album is a great listen, using simple techniques to create something complex and big, which will appeal to those just looking for something to listen to while they work, as well as those looking for a great, deep and emotional album.
Just submitted this as a review as well incase anyone wonders why it's long winded. First review, so let me know how it is.