In short: the girl done good, yet again.
Richard Banks 2007
Though you might not know her by name, the chances are you've already heard Leslie Feist sing. As part of the ever-expanding Broken Social Scene family, Feist's voice has graced some of the finest Canadian indie of the last decade. Before that, she was shacked up in Berlin with Peaches, touring The Teaches Of Peaches in 2000 under the adopted moniker, 'Bitch Lap Lap.' Later, between live shows with Peaches and BSS, she penned an award-winning solo album -2004's Let It Die.
In nearly ten years, Feist has rarely paused for breath. That is until now. Holed up in a 19th century château on the outskirts of Paris in 2006, Feist set about recording this, her third full-length release. With Jamie Lidell, Dominic “Mocky” Salole, and Eirik Glambek Boe (Kings Of Convenience) all contributing, The Reminder was recorded in a two-week spell of concentrated creativity.
It shows, too. The Reminder is easily the most focused thing Feist has released to date. True, it isn't quite as eclectic as Let It Die, but in the first four tracks alone there's plenty to showcase the breadth of her talent. On gentle opener “So Sorry”, she lays graceful Joni Mitchell tones over an acoustic groove, before letting her hair down on the Rilo Kiley-esque “I Feel It All”, one of the album's many gems.
Piano-driven first single “My Moon My Man” struts along like a Goldfrapp number, showing off the singer's sassy side, while “The Park” takes things down to grass roots level, literally: it's a beautiful tale of London parklife, accompanied by the sound of birdsong. With her understated and melancholy folk strum, Feist comes across like the big sister of Conor Oberst, the song evoking Bright Eyes' drunken lullaby, “Lua”. Later, there's an infectious and spirited version of the rootsy classic “Sea Lion Woman”, with more than its fair share of hand claps (see also: “Past In Present”).
It's hard to choose, but “1 2 3 4” is probably the record's stand-out track, and it looks destined to be The Reminder's second single. It's three minutes of summery euphoria that will almost certainly be the soundtrack to an advert for mobile phones before long; after all, what else brings a bunch of terribly good-looking people together like the sound of a banjo?
In short: the girl done good, yet again. Do yourself a favour and buy this record; it's really rather lovely.