Leslie Feist has been absent from her own musical endeavors for six years. Her previous record from 2011, Metals, saw Feist in a lo-fi and intentionally unpolished musical realm. Now, her new album Pleasure takes some of those same elements and applies them with more care and refinement, which seems indicative of six years’ worth of consideration.
The Calgary-born singer-songwriter begins with a track that shares the album’s name. “Pleasure” breaks the silence of Feist’s absence with, interestingly enough, subtly and quietness. The delicate hum of studio amplification fills the air before a slightly muted guitar riff paves the way for Feist’s gentle voice to return. However, this docile approach is soon cut off by blistering, distorted guitars that showcase a new versatility in Feist’s songwriting. This loud energy caps off the track, with Feist’s chanting vocals matching the atmosphere.
The next few tracks, “I Wish I Didn’t Miss You”, “Get Not High, Get Not Low” and “Lost Dreams” continue to display a particular kind of production style that is consistent on this album. Reverb and white noise fill the gaps between chords, and the instrumentation combines with these sounds to make it feel as though you are listening to Feist live. A natural, realistic sound like this paired with Feist’s captivating lyrics generates a very appealing charm that Pleasure is filled with.
Lyrical prowess shines through the most on the unique perspective of “A Man Is Not His Song.” It’s almost a plea of sorts, asking the listener to separate the artist from their music. While songs may come from a personal space within a musician, an artist’s body of work is not a sole representation of their whole character.
Intriguing and Introspective songwriting carries on to “Century” and through to the very end of Pleasure. Intelligent themes fused into some catchy and engaging music makes for an excellent listener experience that walks through the evolution of an artist and what they learned while they were away from the spotlight. Feist has certainly come a long way since her days as “that IPod commercial girl”, and let’s hope that she doesn’t leave us again for too long at such a delightful peak in her career.
By: John Pattee