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The first thing I had to get over to review the disc was that I couldn't get an interview, which always feels like someone won't take your call. That's just the breaks when somebody is really hot, and Feist is tearing it up at the moment.

(Leslie) Feist is complicated, multi-faceted. She absolutely kills the cushy groove songs that are so uniquely her, like "Mushaboom" off the last and breakthrough record, Let It Die, and "My Moon My Man" on this new disc. But she also has what might be called a Chrissie Hynde aspect that perhaps carries over from the punk roots of her youth, on tunes like the current record's "I Feel It All," which rocks undeniably. (She has also been a member of the Canadian act Broken Social Scene, and partner to the lead singer Kevin Drew.) Other tunes, especially on The Reminder, are very original spins on soul power reminiscent of countrywoman Joni Mitchell in their spacious authority.

These are eminently represented on this record, in the opener "I'm Sorry", "The Park," "The Water," "Intuition," and to some degree, "Honey Honey " and "How My Heart Behaves." When you count them up, these intense quiet tunes make up most of the record. My paramour said the show in SF was a lot tougher than the disc; that's also a predictable by-product of somebody on the sharp rise. It's no time to get overly sensitive, when you really need to move everybody's hairlines back a few millimeters.

So it's interesting that Feist releases a great but mostly intense and quiet record at this juncture. But there is adequate pop vaudeville in "1234," hip gospel in her treatment of the classic "Sea Lion," cush in "My Moon My Man," and rock in "I Feel It All" to carry the uptempo day. To top it off, there are two great Bonus tracks: a Chromeo Remix of "Sea Lion" and a 'Red Demos' version of "The Water," both top shelf inclusions. Where Let It Die may have been a little more eclectic (more bossa, more jazz), The Reminder struck this writer as more fiercely and unabashedly personal, in spots.

Feist is a total artist, and off the beaten track in many ways. She features dancing in many, if not most of her videos, though she's not what you'd call a natural dancer. You can tell she likes to dance, but there's a strange awkwardness to her around the hips that's very curious. You can check out a number of entertaining videos of the artist at Youtube, and see her playing very Feisty guitar on Ron Sexsmith's fantastic song "Secret Heart." 


It's always energizing to see a real artist knocking 'em dead. She's being it and doing it; if you don't already, you need to get Feist in your collection right away.
• Frank Goodman

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