Feist's stunningly brutal 2011 album Metals shucked all expectations - or fears - that the singer would sell out to the fame she found with her 2007 earworm 1234. Six years on, Feist returns with Pleasure, an album that unfolds the gritty soundscapes found in Metals to create an intricate exploration of the titular sensation.
Feist has alluded in interviews to a period of depression that preceded the writing of the album, and said in naming it Pleasure she was "planting a seed or prophesising some brightness". The album plays out like a journey as a result, with Feist pulling listeners through her emotions on her way to understanding. The fact that most tracks reach for the five-minute mark may lose some along the way, but more patient listeners will find themselves caught off guard by the singer's ability to capture emotions with startling purity.
I Wish I Didn't Miss You explores the vulnerability of heartbreak, with Feist's voice shattering into distortion as she grows angry at a former lover, while Get Not High, Get Not Low delicately illustrates the frustration of mood fluctuation. Feist's maturity as an artist is evident in her readiness to swerve the album off course - A Man is Not His Song ends with a sample of Mastodon's High Road, while Century features a monologue from Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker before abruptly finishing mid-climax.
Closing track Young Up sees Feist turn back to a younger self and reassure her that "The end's not coming". In this, Feist has found clarity, fulfilling the prophecy she set in the album's naming. It's a fitting end to an arresting but cathartic ride, in which the true pleasure lies in the journey.
Verdict: A startlingly beautiful exploration of human emotion.