There’s a sense of trepidation going into Metals. It’s been 4 years since we’ve heard some fresh Feist material and playing through The Reminder had grown weary quite a while back. Though it did contain some sweet, tender and catchy moments, it came and went without much hoorah, due to its sparse and largely empty tracks. Metals, although very demure, is a much fuller release and a step away from the pop of 1,2,3,4 and I Feel It All. It doesn’t depart much further from the suppressed, quietly soulful soundscapes of previous Feist, and instead takes a pensive look at her slow-build style.
Energetic flourishes are an exciting and intermittent thing for her albums. It’s a fairly promising start then, with the simple and syncopated opener, The Bad In Each Other. With its bass drum, clapping, buzzing distortion, soft trumpeting and climactic string arrangement, it feels like something truly fresh. As does the pulsating A Commotion, which builds intensely from quietly throbbing keys to pounding, guttural screams of the track’s title. More exciting still is the rousing climax to the build of Undiscovered First, which ends with wild tambourine trills and charismatic vocals.
Breaking up the action are those bluesy, vocals-driven tracks Feist is well known for. Most familiar is Caught A Long Wind, with the muffled drums and piano combination, culminating in a sweeping finish of violin. The softer moments extend to the rootsy progression of Cicadas and Gulls and the dreamy Get It Wrong, Get It Right; ample provision for any sedate, Feist purist.
Metals marries the best of Feist into an album we can finally, really sink our teeth into. There’s something stirring in hearing distortion and rock-esque grunt from an artist as softly spoken as she is and this album utilises this deftly. It does, through its quieter sections, require some patience, but ultimately, it’s equal parts soulful, sympathetic and electrifying; a generally more accomplished Feist.