REVIEW: Feist – “Pleasure”
by Chad Jewett
Beginning in the tense register of 2011’s Metals before taking turns between sharp blues-punk (that riff at the 1:50 mark is a thing of serrated beauty) and a hushed torch song full of understated production choices, “Pleasure” finds Leslie Feist expanding to the far edges of her last two records, both of which would make time for this kind of whispered mood-music but never explored this space quite so conclusively. Built around a single guitar, a spartan hum of percussion and some cloudy mellotron, “Pleasure” recalls the reverb-drenched Sun Records-influenced late 2000s work of The Walkmen, but deploys that sound for something wilder, more explosive. The song’s coda – a refrain of “Pleasure!” shouted atop percussive garage-rock strums – is less the grand indie-pop of Broken Social Scene or Feist’s 2007 breakthrough The Reminder and more a kind of barbed minimalism. The song is at various points impressionistic and ferocious, cloudy and sharp. All hissy treble and warehouse echoes, “Pleasure” maps the turn from the somber, insular Metals (where “Pleasure” begins) to something more bombastic yet still idiosyncratic. Feist’s smoky alto remains compelling, whether it be over the lonely electrified click of a single guitar or a wave of noise. Indeed, the singer-songwriter may be at her best when she pivots back and forth between both.