Saturday, March 9, 2013

REVIEW: Waxahatchee - Cerulean Salt

Waxahatchee is Katie Crutchfield, with backing from Keith Spencer, Kyle Gilbride, and her twin sister, Allison Crutchfield. But it's Katie Crutchfield first and foremost. Her voice (both her songwriting voice and her terrific singing voice) is the anchor. Thought this album is arranged with a really good rhythm section and post-punk guitars, nothing drowns her out... and that is as it should be.

Crutchfield is a rare talent, and knowledge of that seems to be gaining rapidly. Though I haven't seen it, I expect some will make a comparison between Crutchfield and Liz Phair. I'd endorse that - both are marked by a frankness that is sometimes overwhelming for a casual music listener, but both also make fantastic rock music that - whether you go looking for soul-baring poetry or not - just absolutely compels you to listen.

It's hard to pick a favorite song - there isn't a bad one on the record - but some lyrics bubble up out of the mix and some of the guitar lines are irresistible.

Regarding the lyrics, specifically, check out "Brother Bryan": "We're only 30% dead" (and here we were thinking about how young you are, Katie!) and "We destroy all of our esteem". Enjoying this music, I find myself hoping she's only singing about self-destruction - because we need her to keep making records.

Regarding the guitars, "Coast to Coast" is a gem, start to finish,

Another highlight: the spare strumming behind the stark vocal of the intro to "Peace and Quiet", feeding into a full-on band attack with what sounds like Crutchfield's voice double-tracked in the chorus:

And the swinging acoustic/electric interplay of "Lips and Limbs" is notable - but, again, everything on Cerulean Salt is notable in one way or another. Especially that voice. Looking forward to hearing lots more from her.

It's available from Don Giovanni Records, having been released Tuesday Mar. 5.

1 comment:

Richard Victoria said...

Coincidentally, I just added them to my SXSW schedule yesterday!