Feist

Fiona AppleBjorkAimee MannBurt Bacharach

ALBUM: "The Reminder" (Cherrytree/Interscope)

Plugged-in Canadian sensation Feist captivated the indie scene's collective heart with her debut album "Let It Be." Balancing her inherent offbeat sensibilities (she is a member of quirky post-pop outfit Broken Social Scene after all) with an ear for engaging melodies and intimate but worldly wordplay, Feist sent anticipation for her follow-up soaring. Now, with "The Reminder," she delivers 2007's best bid so far for break-out success.

The album's 13 songs effortlessly blur genres and invoke a panorama of moods. The countrified roadhouse stomp of "I Feel It All" celebrates hard-earned emotional freedom and possibility, while her digitized take on 1939 folk traditional "Sealion" transforms the song into a gospel-tinged rave-up of hand claps and fuzzy guitars.

Feist's clear, strong vibrato—used to devastating effect on stark, heartbroken ballad "The Park"—holds it all together. When she revels in nostalgia and innocence lost, as on "1234," the song sounds like a birthday party at Burt Bacharach's house. Feist even delves into Joanna Newsome territory on the expansive and dramatic "Honey Honey" (and, yes, it does feature a harp).

Newsome, Aimee Mann, Fiona Apple, Imogen Heap, even Bjork—these are all artists that Feist is likely to be compared to in feeble attempts to encapsulate the breadth of her talents and this latest work. But no amount of hyperbole can truly capture the essence of what makes Feist's music such a remarkable expression.

On the quietly forlorn album closer "How My Heart Behaves," the sound of a single bird chirping in the distance is barely audible as the song fades out, providing the most apt metaphor for "The Reminder" yet.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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