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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    The Reminder

    Understated elegance. Those are the words one ought to use when describing Canadian chanteuse Leslie Feist’s — or Feist for short — newest album ‘The Reminder.’ Since its release in May, she’s rather quietly taken the indie scene by storm. Don’t be terribly surprised though, since she deserves her praise. A songbird deserves no less.

    For those familiar with her previous work ‘Let It Die,’ let it first be said that Feist makes no major departures from that style as in what she brings to bear in ‘The Reminder.’ The same gentle jazz and playful indie-pop that pervaded her previous effort are here, and it seems here to stay. That, however, is no major discredit. That her songs nevertheless remain carefully composed and vocally stirring is no real flaw.

    In the making of an understatement, Feist is recognizable for the atmosphere she creates in her music. Each song, from first to last, has a quiet breath to which Feist lends her crooning. It all feels natural and honest, even amidst the synthesizers in the background. This is true of the opening track ‘So Sorry.’ The bossa nova inspired instrumentation, the tender vocals, and the earnest of the lyrics take the listener and the room into itself almost effortlessly and perhaps without meaning to.

    Her first single on the album is ‘My Moon My Man.’ Remember that LG Chocolate commercial? Someone was listening and clearly liked. The simplicity of the driving drum and piano in this love song soon give way to layer upon layer of electric guitar, whirling synths, and ambient noise as she sings about troublesome love.

    Covering Nina Simone’s ‘See-Line Woman,’ ‘Sea Lion Woman’ is a cute and very modern homage to the late Ms. Simone’s moving musicianship. Laden with the same energy and verve that made Nina famous, Feist still seems to hold back. Leave ’em wanting more. Yes, Ms. Feist is very good at that, and yet it works against her ever so slightly because more is always what the listener will expect.

    Lyrically, she’s in good, familiar form. Particularly in the ballad ‘The Water’ (which is already a showpiece altogether), as well as the second single ‘1 2 3 4,’ Feist paints her vivid pictures with mountains and passing time. Though some would call her imagery sugary — as syrupy as ‘Brandy Alexander’ — one can’t deny she’s a talented wordsmith.

    Rounding out the album is ‘How My Heart Behaves.’ Though subdued, Feist closes the album beautifully. The haunting rhythm on its own will have some pressing repeat, and others starting the album over.

    What all this comes to is an elegantly crafted and beautifully executed effort. Elegant in that much of is so silky smooth without trying. Even drawing from her numerous influences and years of experience, ‘The Reminder’ never attempts to steal the attention of the room. Instead, it almost lazily draws in with only a few words. Think of a quiet afternoon spent with friends while watching the snow. I, personally, am reminded of this. Understated elegance. Sounds good to me.

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