Canadian indie pop singer and unlikely commercial firepower Leslie Feist builds on the momentum of 2007’s revelatory The Reminder with another song cycle of great variety and adventurous 21st-century pop-rock. Except this time, the artist known as Feist crafts things on a smaller graph, preferring near lo-fi atmospheres and basement auras. Working again with Chilly Gonzales and Somali-Canadian producer Mocky, Feist strips her music to its essentials. She makes art-pop that’s also strangely accessible, as anyone humming the abstract melodies of “The Circle Married the Line” or “How Come You Never Go There” can attest. There’s a dark mood to much of the material, an angry clang to the Scout Niblett–like guitar and vocal of “Undiscovered First” and a desperation to the nocturnal piano number “Bittersweet Melodies.” Strings don’t sweeten but agitate the cinematic pull of “A Commotion.” It’s as if she decided to make her own Exile on Main Street. But where The Rolling Stones explored classic old American forms, Feist seeks to do the same with all that’s come after.

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