By Sergio Berrueta
Feist returns after a six-year absence with “Pleasure,” an album about heartbreak, disillusionment and broken dreams.
This follow-up to 2011’s “Metals,” ventures into these concepts with unrefined sounds, somber acoustics and bombastic echoes. The album begins with the title track “Pleasure.”
It hits with a blend of melodic rock and electric-laden grime, sounding like a cassette tape recording giving a unrefined sound.
It builds to an end that climaxes into the acoustic sound that will carry for a majority of the album. Feist dips into her comfort zone with the track “I Wish I Didn’t Miss You,” which feels like a throwback to the title track of her second album “Let It Die.”
The song starts quite somber and builds into a wave of echos oozing the Wall of Sound production of the late ‘60s.
On “Get Not High, Get Not Low,” Feist drifts into a more live sound, inviting those listening to come closer, mixing modern folk music with the classic western genre. Intimacy is spread throughout the entire album on a more personal effort from Feist.
“Lost Dreams” speaks of the hopelessness felt in previous relationships. She recalls the end of her last relationship with the line, “Even on that day, I dreamed. I’m a dreamer.”
She screams out the final lines with both relief and pain. It comes off as two songs played simultaneously.
The somberness and raw release of Feist’s breathy vocals is carried over in “I’m Not Running Away,” “The Wind” and “Baby Be Simple.”
A duo of songs decide to play with listeners’ ears in “Any Party” and “A Man Is Not His Song.”
The former is Feist singing of how she is willing to leave any party for her lover against a rich class of loud, electric chords, acoustic strings and chaotic symbols.
Feist sings “Because no party is so sweet as a party of two” to contrast the loud environment of her current location. This is amplified when a choir of drunken partygoers sing the chorus: “I would leave any party for you.” The song dips into the reality of Feist heading out the door underneath the loudness of chatter.
This acts as a transition with Feist walking down the road as crickets chirp and a car blares out the title track in the distance. “A Man Is Not His Song” continues the trend with a chorus, seemingly from the previous track, following her to sing the final minute of the song.
This song returns to the somber sound at the beginning with hints of her days in the band Broken Social Scene coming through.
It breaks the somber, romantic tone with a sample from the song “High Road” of the metal band Mastodon to end the track.
The other single released, “Century,” goes back to the first track’s sound with Feist’s voice being distorted in tandem with the abrasiveness of the music surrounding her.
British musician Jarvis Cocker makes an appearance with spoken word, comparing the length of a century in numbers to the “endless dark nights of the soul, those nights that never end.”
Feist sings of finding someone to light the way, despite the opportunity already out of sight. It adds a glimmer of optimism and levity to an already heavy album.
“Pleasure” is well worth the sixyear wait because it crafts a tribute to Feist’s own struggles within that span of time.
With moments of abrasiveness and personable songs, the album is a journey through her 40 years of life, allowing itself to be intimate and to let the audience know they are welcome to hear it.
“Pleasure” is available to stream on Spotify and Google Play Music.