Tuesday 31 July 2012

'The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do


I wouldn't dream of trying to make sense of the title of Fiona Apple's newest album. Like it's creator, it is an enigma. As for the creator, Grammy award winning and critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Apple has, after seven years of silence, released her new album (title above). This is surely her most daring album yet.

Apple commands each track, creating and recreating a jarring and beautiful sonic environment to surround us, asserting her emotions and infusing them into every bend  and turn of the album, jealous one second, then furious, remorseful, violent. Raw emotion pulses through this album and resonates into every space. In "Left Alone" Apple desperately shrieks  "how can I ask anyone to love me when all I do is beg to be left alone?" but that vulnerability is quickly resolved and replaced by conceit in "Periphery" as Apple sneers "Those peripheral idiots always have a bite to bear/Bear it if you can/ If you really want to." She refuses to stay put.

Being a drummer myself, I could not in good conscience discuss this album and not praise the phenomenal, experimental percussion of Charley Drayton. He uses everything from a single snare drum, to...a timpani  at one point ( I think) to duck tape (yes duck tape!) to compliment and intensify each moment.

This album isn't pretty, because it isn't supposed to be. It is rough and crude. But it's crudeness is executed meticulously. Listeners will be engaged and captivated as this album seeks to keep them at a distance but simultaneously pulls them in. As Jim Beviglia writes "Like an open wound, The Idler Wheel isn’t always pretty, but it pulses with life, brutal and true".


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