the idler wheel is wiser than the driver of the screw…
Alone with her voice, piano, & percussionist Charley Drayton, her magnetic vocals are subtly coloured with harmonies, slight effects, overlapping rhythms & additional keyboards.
These spare but not skeletal arrangements never shift focus away from Fiona's voice, a gripping human element that immerses you into the songs. As elliptical as the melodies & words can be, the music is immediate & the songs unfold quickly, certain turns of phrase or thrilling runs swiftly seeping into the subconscious. 'The Idler Wheel...' plays like Apple at her purest, taking no shortcuts or easy turns. the love songs ('Jonathan') seem sweeter, the braggadocio ('Hot Knife') funnier, the pathos ('Valentine', 'Regret') & paranoia ('Werewolf') feeling fathomless. Stripped of all her carnivalesque accoutrements, Fiona Apple remains as rich & compelling as she ever was, perhaps even more so.