EW Staff
April 25, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

You can call Leslie Feist a bitch — just don’t call her music French. The Calgary native (who dubbed herself Bitch Lap-Lap as sidekick to electroclash vixen Peaches) moved to Paris in 2003 to record Let it Die, her beguiling second album that’s received much acclaim in Europe and Canada and is now finding a following Stateside (thanks in part to the title track’s spot on indle-rock-tastemaker TV show The O.C.). But despite the disc’s windswept melodies — plus a Françoise Hardy cover?the songstress won’t acknowledge any inspiration from her new home’s café culture: ”If I made the album in Beirut, people would say it really has that Beirut café sound!” charges Feist (who takes a single moniker for her music). ”I didn’t know Paris from a hole in the ground when I made the record. It was a blank slate — a stranger to me. The freedom of that anonymity influenced me more than any location.” That conceit of displacement — both cultural and personal — marks an immense departure from Feist’s days donning aerobics outfits and rapping in broken Spanish as the ”superhero persona” of Bitch Lap-Lap. Drifting from buoyant disco pop to warm jazz-infused numbers to spare breakup ballads, Die is anchored only by Feist’s smoky siren call of a voice: ”It’s not about instrumentation anymore,” says the 29-year-old. ”Does the melody stand on its own? Can you sing It in the shower? I just thought, Well, whatever it is, it will be the truth.”

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