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Let It Die

Let It Die
(Arts & Crafts / Polydor)

It's kind of ludicrous to me that this album was released a couple different times by different labels (originally finding a home on the Arts & Crafts label in Canada before being put out worldwide by the larger Universal), all without ever really finding a proper release in the United States. I asked for the release several times at different music stores and it was in none of their computers. It's too bad, really, because this is a great little album that should have gotten more press and more of a following. Heck, I'll admit that I didn't believe a friend at first when he told me it was one of his favorite releases of the year. I found the first single from the album catchy, but a bit too hokey for my liking.

In time, though, that track was getting some serious replay on my computer and eventually I decided to go ahead and get the whole release and I'm glad that I did. Let It Die is kind of a bizarre album musically. At times it sounds like an album that was put together in the 70s in terms of production and little fragments of cheesy-sounding instrumentation. At other times, it feels remarkabley lo-fi, but the varied tracks are also part of the appeal of the release. It's the vocals of Leslie Feist, though, that really hold the whole thing together. Her velvety voice is one of the best that I've heard in awhile.

"Gatekeeper" opens the release with vocals and acoustic guitar, and while the track is by no means bad, it's not nearly the standout that follows. "Mushaboom" is the track that follows (and the slightly cheesy track that I mentioned above), and the hopalong rhythm, piano flourishes and whimsical vocals are so infectious you'll be singing it for days. The album-titled "Let It Die" is another standout, and the track moves with a narcotic lounge feel while "One Evening" sounds like it was literally created 30 years ago with the completely non-offensive percussion, the warm rhodes, and soft guitar licks. Oh yeah, it's also completely and totally catchy as well.

At times, the vocals of Feist remind me of Joni Mitchell, and at times they remind me of more contemporary artists who seem to have a lock on the top of the billboard charts with their glossed-up production and recycled lyrics and melodies. Although it encorporates some interesting production techniques, one thing that Let It Die never does is go by the books. Even her cover tracks that close out the release take on their own feel. The standout of them all might very well be the ultra-sexy cover of the Bee Gee's "Inside And Out," which seems to punctuate the original in all the right places and really show off the expressive vocal range that Feist flexes in many ways over the course of the release. In addition to this solo release, Feist has also sung on tracks by Kings Of Convenience and Broken Social Scene, but Let It Die proves she can step out and stand just fine on her own as well.

Rating: 8