Open Season: Remixes and Collabs
Open Season’s very existence is puzzling. There’s no disputing Canadian chanteuse Leslie Feist has a gorgeous voice, but at this point in her career, with only a thin catalogue of recorded work, a compilation album feels quite premature.
Of the various forms of B-side material that compose this album, remixes unfortunately dominate the track listing. As usual, many of these versions play out like marginalized editions of the originals, but Feist’s vocal presence does lend itself surprisingly well to a handful of the reworkings. Both the Mocky Mix and the Postal Service Mix of “Mushaboom” are club-worthy turns. The former exudes a harder edge with its funky bass line but keeps it light, too, with handclap percussion and a playful piano melody. The latter has all the atmospheric ambiance expected from the Postal Service and even includes a couple lines from Ben Gibbard. It’s hard to determine whether the spin given by these DJs is what gives these songs strength or if Feist’s original arrangement is what makes them so good. Regardless, they top a heap that relies too much on the cut-and-paste dynamics and too little on adding material of interest to the songs.
Where this release succeeds is in its combination of Feist’s collaborations and covers. The simple acoustic guitar accompaniment to her version of The Bee Gees’ “Inside + Out” is the perfect showcase for her voice, the shaky timbre recalling a mixture of Chan Marshall and Antony. The cover of Peaches’ “Lovertits” is borderline absurd in how straight the material is played, while the duet with Jane Birkin on “The Simple Story” finds a nice bed of harp notes to nestle in. These tracks don’t necessarily lift the CD into the realm of essential, but they definitely raise the interest level beyond the anemic pulse of a standard remix album.
Cherrytree Records: http://www.cherrytreerecords.com