Feist, 'The Reminder' (Cherrytree /Interscope)

8
The Reminder
Critical Mass
Label: Cherrytree /Interscope

by Mikael Wood

Considering her past exploits as a Broken Social Scenester and sidekick to electroclash queen Peaches (under the tasty pseudonym Bitch Lap Lap), Leslie Feist probably didn't expect to seduce the Starbucks set with 2004's Let It Die, her second solo album. But thanks to a cool-as-lemonade coo and cuddly disco-folk grooves -- not to mention the use of her music in several TV ads -- that's exactly what happened. Three years later, Feist is in a delicate spot: Does she kiss the underground good-bye and cater to the folks hungry for more mellow Sunday-morning sounds or indulge her eccentricities at the risk of alienating a prized consumer base?

On The Reminder, which she recorded outside her adopted hometown of Paris with a team that included glitch-soul maestro Jamie Lidell, Feist gets as close to playing it both ways as humanly possible. Quieter and more uniform in sound than the willfully eclectic Let It Die, the new album emphasizes her sumptuous vocals and ear for a handsome melody; "So Sorry" and "The Park" wouldn't sound terribly out of place on a Norah Jones record. But listen through headphones and the album still offers up bits of subder-mal weirdness, as in "Honey Honey," where luscious harmony vocals tangle with field-recording white noise. Bitch Lap Lap has come a long way.

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