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Indie chanteuse's latest
'goes down easy'

Feist - The Reminder
(Cherry Tree Records)
4 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: May 22, 2007

Review by Tony Bonyata

On Feist's third proper solo album, entitled The Reminder, the Canadian singer/songwriter has produced arguably her finest effort to date.

Hailing from a host of various bands that she's either worked or collaborated with - most notably Canadian allies Broken Social Scene and electronica mistress Peaches, as well as the Norwegian folk-pop duo Kings of Convenience - Leslie Feist has managed to stretch out beyond her indie-roots with a beautifully layered, highly textured collection of pop, folk, jazz, electronica and touching torch songs that should guarantee the 31 year-old singer a much broader audience without losing any of her indie cred.

While The Reminder is slightly more hushed than her previous 2004 solo effort, Let It Die, it remains her most varied and ultimately her most pleasing to date. Feist blends effervescent pop gems such as the peppy "I Feel It All" and "Past In Present" with the lovely balladry of "The Water," while adding a folkie element to the lilting number "The Park," where her voice both quivers and soars at the same time. And as strong as the melody and songcraft is on the majority of these songs, it's Feist's unique voice that is ultimately her greatest asset. Her delivery on "Brandy Alexander," which she credits Canadian singer/songwriter Ron Sexsmith for the soothing melody, is as sweet and warming as the drink itself. She goes onto sensually coo and purr through the sultry pop of "My Moon My Man," while also adding a wide-eyed sense of innocence and naivety to the jaunty banjo-driven "1 2 3 4" as she playfully sings, "One Two Three Four, tell me that you love me more," as if reading a nursery rhyme before her voice takes flight as the song climaxes with the aid of an exuberant piano and excitable horns.

Broadening the mix even more Feist wonderfully transforms Nina Simone's "See Line Woman" into her own version of "Sea Lion Woman," while still incorporating the original's primitive call-and-response harmonies, before an epiphanic electric guitar fuels the number into an uplifting Pentecostal Holy-rolling song of the spirit. On the harrowing electronic number "Honey Honey" the singer also evokes the artistic style of Laurie Anderson for interesting measure.

Without sacrificing her art Feist has produced her most accessible and satisfying effort to date with The Reminder, and in the process has proved herself one of the most arresting artists of this decade. Perhaps there's no more appropriate summation of this record than the indie chanteuse's own when she muses over and over during "Brandy Alexander" that it, "It goes down easy."

Watch Feist's - "1234" video

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