Leslie Feist has been a contributing force to groups like Broken Social Scene and icons such as Jane Birkin, and has just unveiled her third attempt as a solo artist. Prior to Metals, Feist mastered a style of simple pop songs that are catchy and appealing to all listeners. Here, Feist unleashes her raspy swooning vocals in a series of explosive melodies into songs that may not have her typical chirpy hook, but are far more dynamic than any of her previous work.
Metals was inspired by the view of Feist's Toronto country house, and was recorded in a home-made studio on the side of a Big Sur cliff. Throughout Metals listeners can see the panoramic cliff-side views and majestic outdoorsiness; nature seeps through the album. She strips away anything technologically impersonal and reveals a deeply intimate album. The opening ballad, "The Bad In Each Other," is shamelessly loud, and overflows with stirring emotions, fuming percussion and bass, and hovering above are silken vocals singing a simple love song.
"The Commotion" is probably the least "Feist-like" song on the album, and quite possibly the best. The track begins with choppy minor keys and then roaring male vocals aggressively soar in, allowing "The Commotion" to take on unsuspecting arcs. There is so much tension and buildup for a chorus line in "The Commotion," but by the end of the song Feist managed to diminish any need for a traditional song structure.
In "Bittersweet Melodies," Feist produces a song that is entirely human and lovely by tracing the sounds, sights, and memories of her experiences. The serenity of Feist continues in "Cicadas And Gulls," an acoustic number that presents short snippets of poetic verses such as, "Thoughts are like pearls/When flags are unfurled/When we're in the dark/I'll ride you back in the ark." There is no lyrical story, yet the result is incredibly intimate between the writer and the listener. Feist eloquently establishes small beauties in nature and human tendencies.
In Metals Feist proves that an album can both be dynamically volatile and minimally delicate. "Anti-Pioneer" is a song that Feist has been working on for ten years, about a girl unable to settle, "when the flag changes colors it's time to go." While moments like this could be interpreted as autobiographical, Feist's lyrics have a lyrical quality that is serves equally as well for music, as it does for poetry, and can be universally understood. Feist never quite settles on a consistent genre, she is able to string out pop hits like "1234" and bluesy numbers like "Undiscovered First", but in Metals she throws all expectations and themes aside, bringing forth a truly gorgeous assemblage of melodies.