With many people locked up at home, staying safe during the pandemic, Fiona Apple released Fetch the Bolt Cutters, first album in 8 years. Immediately one’s attention is drawn to the percussive nature of the release especially on a track like “Relay” that brings an equal amount of soul to the vocals. “Drumset” sees Apple pleading with bandmates about why they took their instruments away after an argument, amusingly it was only to go to a gig.
The album begins with two great tracks – “I Want You to Love Me” that lays a bed of piano and bass before the drums come in half way through that see Apple get anthemic in the chorus. “Shameika said I had potential” is a line that sticks with you, whether you’re a young Fiona Apple or just hearing it sung by her. “Under the Table” describes a dinner party we’ve all been stuck going to that we didn’t want to be at in the first place so act like a brat.
“Cosmonauts” has the most pure pop moment that appears in the chorus before Apple turns more serious on “For Her”. The track starts acapella but grows in stature where Apple sings the staggering line, “You raped me in the same bed your daughter was born in”. The agonizing weight of depression is tackled on “Heavy Balloon”. Fetch the Bolt Cutters is wildly creative, at times exhilarating but always challenging. Surely one of the most memorable releases that this pandemic will give us.