Katie Crutchfield started out in the wordy punk band P.S. Eliot, where she played with her sister Alison (now of Swearin' fame). She went on to collaborate with Chris Clavin of Plan-It-X Records, later releasing an honest-to-god folk punk classic in American Weekend. Her sound has expanded enormously since; where that record was skeletal as can be, Cerulean Salt was a torched indie rock record in which confession met composition. Ivy Tripp is another lyrically incisive record that proves Crutchfield to be getting better still at songwriting.
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- Ivy Tripp by Waxahatchee
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Alabama-raised singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield has come a long way since her debut 2012 LP ‘American Weekend’ and the subsequent ‘Cerulean Salt’: those two records defined Waxahatchee’s predilection for delicate melodies with a rugged grunge sensibility, and the lo-fi bedroom production style made her knack for creating simple songs about love and loss seem tragically real.
From touring with Jenny Lewis and working with Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Bradshaw, to featuring on the soundtrack for The Walking Dead and signing to Merge Records in the US, Crutchfield has since become something of a poster-girl for the lovelorn indie kids among us. It’s no surprise, then, that the singer’s third full-length ‘Ivy Tripp’ is altogether more polished than its predecessors. Fortunately, though – the emotional rawness of her lyrics remain firmly intact: “I watch you anxiously/The pain it’s celestial/the pain it’s serene” she sings on stand-out frenzy of ‘Poison’, sounding wounded as ever; it’s clear here that her woes of love and loss still prevail.
Despite her last LP only being released two years ago, Crutchfield has shown remarkable maturation since then. The angst of the past is still present, but it’s been slightly eschewed in favour of a more optimistic, reflective outlook. Opener ‘Breathless’, for example, highlights this perfectly: her soaring vocals over fuzzy synths analyse a troubled relationship with more clever introspection than mere grief and dejection.
There are a number of influences and styles at play here: from the grunge-inspirited scuzzy guitars to the 60s pop-esque ‘La Loose’ and occasional interjections of powerful synth lines, ‘Ive Tripp’ is pleasingly genre-defiant.
Like the best frayed indie, ‘Ivy Tripp’ is a lesson in how to turn life’s most common grievances into lyrical triumphs.
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