Fiona Apple

The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do (Epic)

Phases & Stages

Fiona Apple

The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do (Epic)

It's not what's missing so much as what's taking its place. "I just want to feel everything," intones Fiona Apple on Idler Wheel opener "Every Single Night," thus tipping over a fourth album so narrowly focused on the L.A. songwriter's dexterous piano work that you might forget how hard she once rocked. Apple's first full-length in seven years comes drenched in percussion – she and producer/drummer Charley Drayton receive an alarming wealth of player credits – with "Regret" and "Daredevil" doing as much to showcase the sheer rawness of the singer's delivery as the cool "Valentine" manages to delicately gloss over it on the other end. Splitting the difference is "Periphery," a playful, "Paper Bag"-style mix of arpeggios and deep hooks that capture Apple's perspective best. "I don't appreciate people who don't appreciate," she sings as violent, whirlwind downstrokes work their way toward the song's familiar center. Still the same Fiona Apple: bigger than "all the fishes in the sea."

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