By Peter Hemminger

Ex-Calgarian Feist has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. The singer and guitar player’s high school punk band lucked into opening for the Ramones on a Calgary stop and Placebo (the local incarnation, not the successful British group) made a solid name for themselves before she moved to Toronto. Since then, she has played in By Divine Right, lived and toured with the infamous Peaches, and contributed to Canada’s indie supergroup darlings, Broken Social Scene.

So on Let It Die, do we finally get to see the true Feist, on her own and removed from these collaborations?

Not exactly. Only two tracks were written completely by herself, with three others being co-writes, five covers (one with new lyrics) and one traditional folk song. In that sense, the album still relies on Feist’s taste in collaborators, and luckily it works as well as her track record would suggest.

The first few songs are the strongest. They’re stripped down campfire numbers shifting the emphasize to Feist’s smooth, jazz inflected vocals.

“Mushaboom,” the second track, is easily the strongest on the album with its rhythmic hand claps, a great sing-along vocal and well placed nonsense background vocals. This song the obvious first single, and makes you wish the rest of the disc stuck with this tone. Instead, much of it alternates between gentle ballads and minimalist discoesque pop tracks, including a cover of the BeeGees’ “Inside And Out.”

The whole thing still works on the strength of Feist’s vocals, but since the two strongest tracks are the two originals (“Mushaboom” and the title track, one of the better break-up songs out there), the collaborations and covers seem unnecessary.

If these collaborations are being done only because Feist isn’t confident enough to come out entirely on her own, the sooner she gets over it the better.

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