Singer proves she can rock on The Reminder



Feist recorded most of the songs on her latest album The Reminder in just one take.


WHILE MOST CRITICS ARE calling The Reminder her most accomplished work to date, indie-rock-girl-turned-solo-sensation Feist sees it a bit more modestly: “It’s what I do, it was the next one to make.”


The one-name wonder, who politely introduces herself as “Leslie,” is a wide-eyed, no fuss kind of beauty with a music style to mirror it.

Much of this anticipated follow-up to her 2004 Juno award-winning debut Let It Die once again displays her made for café/lounge sound — with her sensual, near-whisper vocals (at times beautifully soaring) accompanied by acoustic guitar strumming, organ and keyboard. However, the 31-year-old singer/songwriter who got her start as the lead singer of a

Calgary punk band, proves she can still rock out by adding bouncy bass, drums and handclaps rhythms to hip-shaking tunes like I Feel It All, My Moon My Man, 1234 and Sea Lion Woman.

Where The Reminder (which she began touring this week) differs is in its refinement. Recorded in a 200-year-old manor house in the outskirts of Paris, many of the album’s songs were recorded in just one take.

“It’s not a pressure, it’s a freedom,” explains Feist, who once more worked closely with Canadian musician Gonzales. “If the song is clear enough that you can catch it like that in one take, then that’s actually the most freeing way to play music.”

Another shift was her intention to write and/or co-write most of the music.

“Let It Die has a lot of covers which lead me to being pretty clear that I don’t really have much interest in singing other people’s melodies at this point.”

The only song the sometimes Broken Social Scene-ster didn’t have a hand in writing on the 13-track record is Sea Lion Woman, which carries an almost African-inspired jingle.

Made popular by jazz legend Nina Simone (called Sea Line Woman), the song is actually an old a cappella Feist first heard on the Anthology of American Folk Music.

“Traditional songs really lend themselves to being covered because they have so much melody and repetition; (they’re) really hypnotic,” she says. “I consider (them) different than covers because they’re not attached to anyone human ... I feel like they’re a bit of a dying breed.”

As for the Parisian cobblestone, for the time being Feist is back in Toronto “more than I have been in the last four or five years.”

“I have half a foot in Paris whenever I have a chance to stop and half in Toronto because my family’s here ... but really any concept of home as a place has really become a moot point.”

see it live
Feist is set to preform tonight and tommorow night at Massey Hall.