Seven years is a long time between albums and twenty-three words is a lot for a title, but conventions have never meant much to Fiona Apple. Lucky, because The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do is anything but a conventional album.

Apple’s fourth studio record is an intensely personal creation. Sixteen years on from her debut album and seven years from her last one, Apple has shown she has grown and her lyrics are blunter, more self aware and exceptionally honest. Since performing at SXSW, mystery tweets and sporadic videos have increased the hype but Apple has lived up to it, delivering a mature and artistic record.

Emotions on the record range from accepting realities in ‘Werewolf’ – Apple wanting to “be there” for an ex while trying to break away – to “Periphery” in which she shows off her vocal range while accepting her old flame has moved on. Then there’s the brutality of ‘Regret’ where the singer howls about a need for, “white dove feathers/ to soak up the hot piss that comes from your mouth/ every time you address me.” Yikes.

With the help of co-producer/drummer Charley Drayton, Apple has created an incredible album full of contrasting styles and unconventional sounds (including doors, tin cans and children). The Idler Wheel… is an album deserving to be truly listened to, not just heard.

Hours could be spent discovering these songs and there’s no doubt after one listen you’ll be willing to give the time up.

– Tess Armstrong

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