Leslie Feist has all the makings of a classic indie girl – completely indecipherable, yet at the same time completely able to be pigeonholed. For one not familiar with Feist, the Canadian has some pretty ridiculous credits racked up: from the electro-shock value of Peaches to the pretty indie-pop of the Broken Social Scene (not to mention stints with By Divine Right and Kings of Convenience). She seems comfortable with and suited to each place she ventures.
Her newest album, The Reminder, sees her travel right from writing in the tour bus and creating in the studio to finishing up a tour stint in Berlin and capping it off with a recording session with pals Mocky, [Chilly] Gonzales and Jaime Lidell in la Frette Studios outside of Paris.
Feist’s previous releases, Let it Die and Open Season, made Canada and Europe take notice of her youthful but classic jazz vocals and guitar playing that lent a punchy yet wispy quality to her pop, half penned by her, half lent by others. This time around, Feist is writing more, collaborating with her recording pals Mocky and Gonzales as well as Ron Sexsmith. If Feist was arresting before doing other people’s songs, she is even more so singing her own.
The lone cover song, “Sea Lion Woman,” was originally written by George Bass and made famous by Nina Simone. Feist revamps it by pairing light-stepping vocals with energetic and full handclaps.
Feist also tries her hand at gospel, country-twinged pop in “Past in Present,” brooding piano dynamics in “My Moon My Man,” haunting ethereality in the chilling “The Water” and upbeat with “I Feel it All.” Versatility is the mark of a great songwriter, and Feist is writing with such fluidity on The Reminder that it will be interesting to see which direction Feist will travel next. VS