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Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Feist Not Famine

Canada hasn't had much luck getting its many younger, often alternative, poets onto UK radars - but when it comes to Canadian musicians, the 21st century has been a constant green blip blip blip across Britscreens. Arcade Fire and Rufus Wainwright, of course (Wainwright and his sister Martha used to play at my late night literary cabarets in the mid 90s), but now, Feist, too, is becoming phenomenally well-known, and respected.

Leslie Feist's (left) new album, Reminder, is very good, if almost obviously eclectic (veering from alt-country via Lou Reed, to Joni Mitchell, to zippy late 70s Toronto The Spoons, to post-disco sexiness) and sometimes darn plain quirky. What she does is remind listeners that there is more to being a female singer-songwriter than aping Amy Winehouse, K.D. Lang, Bjork, or Tori Amos / Kate Bush - although she clearly rings those stylistic changes across her dazzlingly virtuosic spectrum (to clang metaphors needlessly). What's more impressive, though, is not how much Feist adapts and adopts from the female pop tradition of the past 45 years or so (when 45s were 45s) - but how much she sort of makes her own.

Feist has, firstly, the virtues of her background - an upbeat, wide-open optimism and endearing clarity reminiscent of Tegan and Sara's sound (also from out West) - and why not, Canada is a great, rich, and green country - but can also use the Canadian edginess that is best seen in the Cronenberg tradition (we have long winters).

The standout tracks are: "I Feel It All", "My Moon My Man", "Past In Present" and "The Limit To Your Love" (which starts like Portishead and morphs into Sade, oddly).

Eyewear gives this four specs.
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