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This review is from: The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do (MP3 Download)
I've been a fan of Apple's for a very long time - "Tidal" and "When the Pawn ..." are, to me, seminal works; incredibly strong writing, beautifully and sensitively produced. Then there came the rather strange "Extraordinary Machine", which I sort-of enjoyed. The songs were still there, and the striking lyrical twists and turns, but the production was just weird. And then this.
I can, I think, see what she and her producer were trying to do; it has echoes of Tom Waits' "Swordfishtrombones", with its industrial sound effects, and in many places the sound design tends to overshadow what it should be supporting. There are some standout songs here - "Valentine" is a touching ballad, while "Left Alone" is an astounding song labouring under the weight of truly unsympathetic production. One of the constants on this record is the piano (as always on Apple's records) but for some reason she has gone with an almost prepared piano sound - at best an out-of-tune honky-tonk that might be found by a skip, waiting for collection by the refuse department. The thinking is probably that using an instrument like this stops the songs sounding too treacly or sweet, but it just doesn't work. Guitarists don't detune their guitars, so why do pianists?
This could have been a great record in the hands of a producer who had a clue; as it is, it's a glorious failure.
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Initial post: 19 May 2016 18:05:06 BDT
Mitch B says:
"Guitarists don't detune their guitars..." Sonic Youth do.
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