[Epic; 2012]

It’s been a long seven years since Fiona Apple released Extraordinary Machine, and there has been uncertainty surrounding her follow-up record. Recently announced with the humorously overbearing title The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do (whew!), it is set for release on June 19, and last week Apple unveiled the album’s first track, “Werewolf.”

Simple, with gentle orchestration, the song is actually exactly what you might expect — for lack of better description, it sounds like Fiona Apple. It’s not too different from anything we’ve heard from her before, but it doesn’t play it safe, either. Pitchfork’s analysis of the song describes its sampling of children’s screams in the background as as one that, “has that quality, that youthful drama, that makes the shouts sound both playful and chilling, and it feels equally plausible that they are either playing the most awesome game ever invented or that there’s a cannibal loose among them.”

Well, I don’t know about that, but the sample is a little eerie, in a good way. Apple’s voice is as strong as ever, and the song, in typical fashion, isn’t a fleeting listen; it lingers, its haunting production matching the album cover’s beautifully disturbing artwork.