After a seven-year absence, the easy path would be to make an album that sounds familiar, to take up where Extraordinary Machine
left off. But easy is not Fiona Apple’s style. So when you hear her latest be patient---it’s a gorgeous and challenging return, but insists listeners suspend expectations. Stripped of the luscious production that cushioned her acerbic rage on previous efforts, these songs hinge on an austere piano and percussion canvas with Apple’s voice stretched to shouts and growls more than ever (especially on “Regret”) while still cradling the tender lyricality and vibrato that distinguish her as a force of nature.