The extraordinary success of 2013’s ‘Cerulean Salt’ meant it was always going to be a tough LP to follow. It was an album championed not only by the usual music media but also by sources one would not expect to take an interest in a genre that doesn’t always reference love from a hugs, kisses and holding hands perspective. However, the likes of Grazia and Heat magazine seemed to be falling over themselves to introduce Katie Crutchfield (aka Waxahatchee) to a wider audience, only too keen to acquaint their readers with the remarkable bitter-sweet sound this talented artist had managed to fashion.
Fast forward two years and Miss Crutchfield returns with album number three, and quite easily her strongest release to date. ‘Cerulean Salt’ now appears to be merely the starter, a little something to suppress the hunger, before the arrival of the main meal that is ‘Ivy Tripp’. And the good news is that ‘Ivy Tripp’ comes with all the trimmings.
The sometimes sombre but always bewitching content remains but the quality of the song writing seems noticeably stronger. The offerings here seem to have gained a maturity from those on ‘American Weekend’ (the first ‘Waxahatchee’ album) and her ability to use instrumentation sparingly (see ‘Stale by Noon’) or as a prop for moments of thunderous brawl (see ‘Poison’) showcase an artist who appears confident with her lot.
There are also wonderful melodies throughout. ‘The Dirt’ rolls along with a care-free swagger of its own while ’Half Moon’ oozes beauty , delicate piano and demands attention. Both though are memorable pieces of music that any artist would welcome on their musical curriculum vitae. Still though, it’s those pounding drums, heavy baselines and howling guitars that are the most mouth-watering; both ‘Bonfire’ and ‘<’ are evidence of this and confirm why this LP eclipses its predecessors. Whether the aforementioned readers of ‘Heat’ and ‘Grazia’ take to this edgy sound remains to be seen but for the rest of us it’s pure bliss.
With every album there are obviously moments that don’t quite hit the spot. On ‘Ivy Tripp’ there are only the two. Firstly, there is the forgettable ‘La Loose’ which simply doesn’t compete with its piers. And then there is ‘Summer of Love’ …. In all truthfulness it could have been plucked directly from Alanis Morissette’s ‘Jagged Little Pill’ such are its similarities. However, these brief moments of disappoint don’t distract from the overall likeability of this album.
There is certainly still more to come from ‘Waxahatchee’. The evidence is plain to see from the three releases to date; with each being stronger than the one before. I for one am certainly looking forward to the desert that follows this satisfying main meal.
‘Ivy Tripp’ is out now on Merge Records.
The track-listing for ‘Ivy Tripp’ is as follows…
Under a Rock
Stale By Noon
Summer of Love
The up-coming ‘Waxahatchee’ tour dates are as follows…
10th June 2015 – Electric Ballroom, London TICKETS