Out in the Storm

Written by: LF on 26/09/2017 20:49:34

The indie singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield from Birmingham, Alabama is at the center of the musical project by the name of Waxahatchee and her previous three albums have all been recorded and produced by herself and just a few collaborators. This fourth album, however, ups the production as it has been recorded in a proper studio and this also gives the songs a new, fuller sound than her previous releases had. The mood of the music is still heavily atmospheric and guitar-based indie, though, and Crutchfield's vocals are as distinctive as ever in the way she breaks during longer notes. During the album's 30 minutes and 10 songs, she takes us on a journey through a new batch of emotional rock'n'roll that should do nicely in a live setting.

"Never Been Wrong" sets the direction of the record with big guitars right away and confrontational lyrics that end in lines like "Everyone will hear me complain / And everyone will pity my pain". The highlights of the album appear quickly thereafter. First in the shape of the raw-sounding "Silver" that is also the song that delivers the album title in the midst of its very catchy melodies, and second, the slower "Recite Remorse" that shows us a different, softer style of singing that Crutchfield also masters as well as her usual clearer and more quick-paced one.

Many of the other songs end up as kind of anonymous in the big picture, though, and especially compared to the aforementioned ones. Tunes like "Sparks Fly" or "Fade" do provide recognizable and memorable melodies and lyrical pictures but seem to go on in a musical limbo that has a very constant level of low energy that never really gets us anywhere specific. The songs that break this lull in the second half of the record, most markedly "No Question", stand out because of their more aggressive and heavier sound. "Hear You" is also especially refreshing in this regard because it includes a delicious contrast between Crutchfield's clear voice over a rumbling, electronic bass that really sets it apart.

Overall, the album does provide good lyrics, great vocal harmonies, and an overall dark atmosphere that keeps me captured even though I do find some songs too similar, directionless or low-energy to really engage me in the longer run. I will definitely keep coming back for the three stand-out tracks mentioned earlier and perhaps the entire album on occasion if I find myself needing a dose of heavy atmospheric indie rock.


Download: Silver, Recite Remorse, Hear You
For The Fans Of: Muncie Girls, Laura Stevenson, Cayetana, Big Thief
Listen: facebook.com/waxahatchee

Release date 14.07.2017
Merge Records

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