Katie Crutchfield returns for her third album under the Waxahatchee moniker with a beefed-up, three guitar sonic assault and the best songs she’s written yet.
Crutchfield’s first album, 2012’s American Weekend, was a collection of lovelorn folk songs, tinged with the occasional lo-fi grunge lick. Her second, Cerulean Salt, hinted at a fuller, bolder sound, still focusing on themes of unrequited love and confused matters of the heart, but with slicker production and louder guitars. Ivy Tripp continues this theme, exploding into superb 90s-inspired grunge and occasionally incorporating fidgety keys, whilst also maintaining Crutchfield’s magnificent penchant for a stripped back, one-guitar-and-vocals rollercoaster of a ride.
Album-opener ‘Breathless’ is a drifting, organ-led introduction to an album that Crutchfield has likened to the process of steadying yourself on shaky ground. As a result, a floating, spacious sound is a continuing feature throughout, particularly on the keys-led, baroque-styled pair of ‘La Loose’ and ‘Stale By Noon’.
Crutchfield strikes the deepest on the final trio of songs: each one stripped-back and overbearingly simple, but vocally and lyrically, the most believable and heart-wrenching
Remember, however, that the current Waxahatchee live line-up boasts three guitars. Equally, let us take into account that Ivy Tripp was produced by Kyle Gilbride and Keith Spencer off associated lo-fi band Swearin’ and it’ll be no surprise to us that its influences are often 90s-located. Huge riffs and choruses make up the phenomenal ‘Under a Rock’, the wall-of-noise ‘Poison’ and the Americana-tinged ‘The Dirt’. But Crutchfield strikes the deepest on the final trio of songs: each one stripped-back and overbearingly simple, but vocally and lyrically, the most believable and heart-wrenching.
On Ivy Tripp, there’s something for everyone and for every mood. If you’re looking for a 1am dancefloor twist, you’ll find it (‘The Dirt’, ‘Under a Rock’). If you’re after an upbeat early morning commute-pacifier, it’s there (‘La Loose’, ‘Grey Hair’). And if you want a musical accompaniment to your solo pre-bed brandy, Crutchfield of course delivers here en masse, her devastatingly brilliant lyrical genius always cutting that little too close to the bone.
Ivy Tripp is an early contender for 2015’s best – widely varied, forceful yet delicate, and most importantly, overridingly beautiful.
…Alex is listening to Suicide – ‘Dream Baby Dream’…
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