Album Review: Extraordinary Machine by Fiona Apple
Fantastic, Based on 1 Critic
AllMusic - 90 Based on rating 9/10
To say that the released version of Extraordinary Machine is a marked improvement over the bootlegged version is not to say that it sounds more complete -- after all, the booted Jon Brion productions sounded finished, as evidenced by the two cuts that were retained; the intricate chamber pop of the opening title track and the closing "Waltz (Better Than Fine)" are the only time Brion's productions not only suited, but enhanced Fiona Apple's songs -- but they are both more accessible, and more fully realized, letting Apple's songs breathe in a way they didn't on the original sessions. While Brion's productions were interesting, they stretched his carnivalesque aesthetic to the limit, ultimately obscuring Apple's songs, which were already fussier, artier, and more oblique than her previous work. When matched to Brion's elaborately detailed productions, her music became an impenetrable Wall of Sound, but Mike Elizondo's productions open these songs up, making it easier to hear Apple's songs while retaining most of her eccentricities.