Fiona Apple
Extraordinary Machine
SonyBMG
Six years after the critically acclaimed When the Pawn . . ., and after a long, drawn-out recording process (including a change of producers mid-stream), Extraordinary Machine finds Fiona Apple essentially where she left off. Most of the pro-gress is in the vocal department, where Apple explores her higher range and delivers rapid-fire verbal salvos with quirky rhythmic character in her trademark smoky alto. Skillful, robust production fills the album out nicely, as was the case on the first two. All that remains of first producer Jon Brion’s version are the first and last tracks. The bookend songs are more left-of-centre in terms of production, and the more understated arrangements place Apple’s voice where it belongs — pointedly out-in-front.
—Sean MacGillivray

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