First, a confession: I’ve almost entirely missed the Broken Social Scene boat. Nothing personal, mind you, but for one reason or another, I’ve made it this far without hearing much of this Canuck collective. Does this fact automatically disqualify me from reviewing solo releases from BSS members? I sure hope not, because—caution thrown to the wind—I’m about to do it. Wish me luck.
First up is Feist’s remix album, Open Season. Let’s not beat around the bush about this one—it’s a stopgap release, designed to capitalize on the success of 2005’s (or 2004’s, depending on where you live) Let It Die. But despite the slightly crass nature of such a product, there’s enough good stuff here to make it worth Feist-fans’ hard earned cash, including a stripped-down rendition of the formerly disco-fied “Inside & Out,” One Room One Hour’s bossa nova rendition of “Gatekeeper” and Frisbee’d’s chilled out remake of “Lonely Lonely.” And the Postal Service version of “Mushaboom” would be a great slice of bubbly electro-pop—if only we could erase Ben Gibbard from the proceedings. Alas. Some of the re-imaginings of Let It Die’s tracks aren’t quite as successful, and there’s probably one “Mushaboom” remix too many here. Is Open Season essential? Nah. Will it tide you over until Feist’s next release (currently slated for early 2007)? Yup.
Next we’ve got Amy Millan’s long in the making Honey From The Tombs, a slightly schizo release that flits between slightly old-timey folk and big, lush pop songs. The combination doesn’t always work—while listening, you get the feeling that the album is the result of a bunch of different disparate projects that don’t quite hold together. That quibble aside, there are plenty of great songs on Honey, including the wonderfully melancholy opener “Losin You” and harmony drenched “Baby I.” And Millan’s vocals are lovely throughout.
Hmm, so Broken Social Scene has both Feist and Millan in its ranks, huh? Maybe I should check that band out.