Two years after ‘Ivy Trip’, Katie Crutchfield and her project Waxahatchee mark an important return with ‘Out In The Storm’. Comprised of 10 tracks for just over half an hour of music, the new album tells us the Alabama-based singer-songwriter has found a new balance, writing tunes that blend together the emotional side of her personality with those sharp indie rock vibes that were trademark of ‘American Weekend’ as well as 2013’s ‘Cerulean Salt’. This new chapter, in fact, opens to a different set of emotions. Katie showcases sweetness, fragility and anger, as well as a stronger self-confidence, all at the same time.
The opening ‘Never Been Wrong’ grows slowly on a basis of a sharp bass and delicate vocals that seem to perfectly fit the distorted soundscape. Shortly after is ‘8 Ball’, a more sophisticated pop journey that brings the listener straight to ‘Silver’, one of the most remarkable episodes of ‘Out In The Storm’. Katie sounds honest, and terribly straightforward when it comes to express feelings and fears. And that’s the key that will open the gate to the world of this record. A world made of exhaustion and happiness at the same time, where loss of direction is one of the demons to necessarily fight. Teenage has gone, yet it’s still a fresh memory, and some sort of an open wound to go through, right when an even bigger trip is undergoing. That huge and unpredictable land that is the age of maturity and adulthood.
‘Recite Remorse’ sounds hypnotic, and it’s a painfully beautiful number that showcases all Katie’s vocal skills, in a soundscape that grows slowly to an unexpected climax. “I was out of my body / Reciting lines of remorse / I was losing my mind, yeah / I was halfway out the door”, Waxahatchee sing. There’s no room for illusions, not anymore, and Crutchfield makes it clear in ‘No Question’, or ‘Hear You’, where the artist finally sounds fearless, more confident, not afraid anymore to fall or even fail. Not to mention ‘Sparks Fly’, a genuine message of love to her sister Allison (“And I see myself, through my sister’s eyes / I’m a live wire, electrified”).
Waxahtchee’s ‘Out In The Storm’ is a portrait of real life. It’s a slice of that confused mix of emotions that agitate our days, our lives, our relationships. It’s also a brilliant proof of maturity – musically speaking – for an artist who has chosen to take off her DIY clothes and work on the details to speak as an adult. The Alabama-born singer, now based in New York, polished her sound yet keeping that halo of independent femininity. She conceived a message that sounds tailored for young adults. Don’t be afraid, go ahead as fearless as you can. And don’t look back.
Merge Records | 2017
Tracklist & Stream