Fiona Apple’s ‘Fetch The Bolt Cutters’ Is Here & It’s Brilliant
Fiona Apple’s Fetch The Bolt Cutters is here and it was worth every second of the 8-year wait. Loose, sprawling and wonderfully unclenched (the album is an act of letting go), the singer/songwriter’s 5th LP takes a couple of listens to get your head around. As a disciple of Tidal and When The Pawn…, there’s a part of me that will always yearn for another “Shadowboxer,” “Criminal” or even “Fast As You Can.” However, Fiona isn’t interested in giving us what we want. Instead, we get what we need — and that’s an establishment-shaking riot of invention.
In many ways, Fetch The Bolt Cutters picks up where The Idler Wheel… left off. In its willingness — or perhaps, compulsion — to innovate. This time around, the 42-year-old takes inspiration from her Venice Beach pad. Quite literally. She creates beats from home-made percussive instruments (pots, pans, walls, tables etc.) and even credits her four dogs with backing vocals/barks on certain tracks. In lesser hands, the album could veer into Cali-satire, but, at heart, Fiona is a poet and her lyrics have the gravitas to pull everything together.
It’s too early for me to speak of highlights. Fetch The Bolt Cutters is the kind of artwork that demands repeat listens, and will probably continue to reveal hidden treasures for months to come. After my first half a dozen or so listens, I’m instinctively drawn towards the brooding title track — a musical diary entry that seethes with discontent. I’m also obsessed with the wounded “I Want You To Love Me,” particularly the unhinged vocal howls, and smitten by the lovely “Cosmonauts.” For social commentary, head straight to “For Her” and “Under The Table.”
If you’re looking for in-depth analysis, Pitchfork’s 10/10 review (only the third in the website’s history) is a good starting point. From there, put your expectations aside and dive into the deep end of Fetch The Bolt Cutters. It’s not always a comfortable experience, but it’s never less than exhilarating. Stream it below. A physical release will follow later this year when the world gets back to normal.