Album: The Reminder
Label: Arts Crafts/EMI
Release date:May 1
**** (out of five)
A gifted songwriter with a knack for merging pop, jazz, electronica and rock, Feist’s sophomore effort is a beautifully crafted album of love, heartbreak and self-discovery.
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Recorded in a 200-year-old French manor house, the sultry-voiced chanteuse’s voice soars to new heights in confessional gems like Limit To Your Love and Brandy Alexander — two of the album’s strongest ballads.
However, Feist’s niche continues to be her upbeat, saccharine pop songs like the infectious 1234 — a handclap, horns and banjo collaboration.
Also catchy is her first single My Moon My Man, reminiscent of the thumpy piano/bass groove Feist got on in Let It Die’s Inside And Out.
While none of the tracks are near terrible, The Reminder loses points by including one too many sleepy tracks.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Album: Baby 81
Label: Sony BMG
Release date: May 1
**** (out of five)
WITH BLACK 81, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club returns with a sound that is truly aligned with the “dangerous” elements of their moniker. Back are the fuzzed-out wall-of-guitars attack and the swagger befitting a band where black-leather cool is the rule. Whereas the songs have a swirling dark intensity with guttural vocal sneers, a gloom-fest is prevented with some deftly applied nuances. Case in point is the acoustic guitar/shaker combo that helps make the lead-off single Weapon Of Choice such sleek hard-rock. Pianos and harmonicas don’t over-tenderize Baby 81; the focus is still a cool-raunch assault with nods to post-punk and psychedelia. Sure, BRMC might again be castigated as a Jesus and Mary Chain-gang— but a lot of rock On’roll fans can drown out this sentiment by cranking this solid record.