STREET SOUNDS: Apple falls far from the tree

Dean Gordon-Smith reviews Fiona Apple's long-awaited, long-titled album, The Idler Wheel...

Fiona Apple has released first CD in 10 years with The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do. 

Fiona Apple has released first CD in 10 years with The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do. 

It’s apparent that NYC singer/pianist Fiona Apple has a thing for weird, lengthy album titles.

Her long awaited fourth album is entitled The Idler Wheel is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do.

This isn’t top 40. Her second recording, When the Pawn, is an abridged version of a Guinness Book of Records entry for longest album title.

Anyway, the always eccentric Apple dives into moodiness and dark jazz sounds with her singular husky voice front and centre. Her songs are close in spirit to her first album. The only difference is sparse instrumentation – here it is vocal, piano, drums and bass.

The best thing about The Idler Wheel is how warm, comfortable and disjointed Apple sounds over her carnival-esque rhythms. She hasn’t veered off from her impersonal and casual style of car wreck psycho jazz.

On The Idler Wheel she’s warmed it up and got comfortable with being offbeat. The CD needs a more than a few listenings, probably in dimly lit rooms – don’t expect fast gratification.

Regret is typical Apple fare:  luminous keys, beatnik  poetry vocals and wandering rhythms. She keeps her piano work tight and inventive.

The easiest thing to hear in Apple’s music is easy confession – she keeps it raw, strange and inviting.

–– Dean Gordon-Smith is a Vernon-based musician and music critic for The Morning Star.