Feist Releases A Savory First Taste Of "Pleasure"

The greatest journeys of artists happen on the inside, rather than the outside.

Or so alludes Leslie Feist, the Nova Scotia-born (but formerly Queen West dwelling) musician and songwriter, who will release her first album in six years next month.

"I’ve been so inward facing during the making of this record that I hadn’t quite prepared myself to face it, and myself, outward again,” the singer-songwriter wrote in a Facebook post, remarking on her long absence from the public eye.

Indeed the concept of pleasure, the title of Feist’s forthcoming album, is a sensation singular to each individual, which Feist illustrates through a meditative, fluid and variable title track. A retreat from her last big-band album Metals (2011), Pleasure features only Feist and Mocky, the Canadian jazz artist. She described the intimate nature of her new album in a recent interview, saying the album is “more like a pencil drawing than a full, expensive watercolour.”

Feist has been known for her soulfully playful albums since her 2004 indie breakout Let it Die, with its boppy “Mushaboom” and “Gatekeeper” atop her minimalist acoustic guitar accompaniments. She rose to further acclaim with her 2007 album The Reminder, with hits like “1234,” which took Feist into the mainstream, and “My Moon My Man.”

In the title track from Pleasure, which Feist released in advance of the album’s full release on April 28th, Feist’s percussive and soulful vocals recall her early albums, with a steady beat and a sparse voice and guitar-based texture. Anyone who attended a Feist show in the 2000’s remembers her trick of recording her voice live and looping the vocals, singing backup to herself in harmony and counterpoint. She reprises this in “Pleasure,” as the song crescendoes into a culmination of ecstatic female pop vocals.

In Feist’s interview with Zane Lowe for Apple, she explained that her and Mocky’s motto for making Pleasure was, “how to hit what and how hard.” The title track of Pleasure with its constant evolving and building, is a thrilling, dance-worthy exploration of this motto. For the rest of this pleasurable exploration, we will have to wait for April 28th.

Headshots by Jessica Osber & Kirsten Miccoli.