Feist relishes in a summer state of mind

Too many covers water down this bubbly, summer affair

Keri Carlson

Summer can be a deceiving season. The long, lazy afternoons of warm sunshine cast a spell of happiness and freedom.

It’s why there’s such a concept as a summer romance. Love that blossoms in the summer does not necessarily hold true in the colder months.

Leslie Feist is aware of this warm-weather hoodwink. On the opening track of her latest album “Let It Die,” Feist cautions, “February, April said, that half of the year, well, we’ll never be friends.”

Perhaps Feist warns us of this season-fatale because her record is undeniably summery.

After collaborating with everyone from indie-rockers Broken Social Scene to Electro-clasher Peaches, Feist focuses her attention on bossa nova, jazz and disco, all performed in an addictive, breezy pop style.

The album, recorded in Paris, follows in the footsteps of such French crooners as Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot. But Feist’s vocals are less kitschy and more sultry. This is why it is believable that Feist, along with the end of summer, could easily break some hearts.

“Let It Die” centers around Feist’s voice. For much of the album, a lightly strummed guitar sambas in the backdrop, allowing space for Feist’s breathy, yet powerful, vocals. The title track works particularly well in this style. As Feist cries, “The tragedy starts from the very first spark/Losing your mind for the sake of your heart/ The saddest part of a broken heart/ Isn’t the ending so much as the start,” her voice carries the passionate, emotional weight of the song.

Of the 11 tracks on the record, only six are written by Feist. The other five, all covers, remain rooted in the same bossa-pop style as the rest of the record. But her adaptation of the Bee Gees’ “Inside and Out” is the loudest and most danceable. This track stands out the most on the album, yet it’s careful not to sound out of place.

The other covers, though, do not erupt like “Inside and Out.” None of the tracks are necessarily bad, but the album could have been improved by including more originals – less covers – especially “Now At Last,” which is a popular 1940s tune that will be familiar to anyone who has sifted through his or her grandparents’ record collection.

Overall, “Let It Die” is a gorgeous pop album, despite its seasonal limitations. And right now, there’s too much sunshine to start thinking about winter.