Feist – Pleasure
Alternative | Folk
These days the weight of expectation often seems to jinx new releases. The ones you spend a long time looking forward to end up being the biggest disappointments, and it’s the ones you discover out of the blue that impress you instead. Having been made to wait a whole six years for a follow-up to her compelling 2011 album Metals, the new Feist was one of my most anticipated albums of the year. I’m sad to say it has fallen short on just about every measure. To summarise my issues with the album as succinctly as possible, Pleasure is far too underdeveloped. It plays like a series of demos, a bunch of half-baked ideas that don’t quite work. It feels like a lot of empty space; the sparse arrangements, rather than feeling purposely stripped back and intimate, instead feel like there’s something missing. Like there’s some layer of lush instrumentation that would give this collection of songs new life that is mysteriously absent.
The title track is a slow and ponderous attempt at garage rock, ‘Lost Dreams’ is a languid and repetitive folk offering and ‘A Man Is Not His Song’ features some unintelligible lyrics, and I remain thoroughly baffled as to why it samples Mastodon. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing here I would categorise as “bad”, but unless you are a hardcore Feist fan I see nothing here that would keep you coming back. The album’s highlight, the laid-back blues of ‘I’m Not Running Away’, is likeable enough, but by that late point in the record your attention will long since have shifted elsewhere. Pleasure is not the album I hoped it would be, but now perhaps it opens up a chance for the next Feist record to catch me by surprise and blow me away.