For Katie Crutchfield the two years between 2013’s Cerulean Salt and this year’s Ivy Tripp must have felt like a lifetime. When Waxatchee (Crutchfield’s brainchild) released their debut American Weekend in 2012 it only took another year till the follow up. However, fans past and present, as well as Crutchfield her self, have had to wait twice as long for the third album to hit the shelves. Is this a sign of a band slowing down and meticulously striking a confident pose?
If the first track is anything to go by then the answer might be a brief and disappointing ‘no’, as the brooding ‘Breathless’ plods along to a repetitive synth/organ melody. There’s slowing down, and then there’s just coming to a complete stop. Thankfully though the record starts to pick up speed again.
Second track ‘Under a Rock’ crashes in to life confidently and although, along with ‘Poison’, it perhaps resembles a slice of generic 90s American rock, there is a deep maturity to Crutchfield’s lyrics. ‘Stale by Noon’ feels like a DIY bedroom effort that wouldn’t look out of place on a Moldy Peaches record. However, after this lull the album begins to pick up, with ‘The Dirt’ twanging a dirty country vibe through the core of the record. The short and sweet twinkle of ‘Grey Hair’ sees Crutchfield stretching her Kim Deal vocals to it’s full potential, and ‘Summer of Love’ demonstrates a beautiful melancholy. Final track ‘Bonfire’ feels like a bona fide cover of Breeders but this is not such a bad thing, just because the music lacks originality doesn’t mean the lyrics do.
At times Crutchfield may sound too similar to her influences, but with the sense of progression from the sound of her earlier work, it is possible that this may be her best effort yet. For a record that has musically widened Crutchfield’s genres, and lyrically evolved alongside her, it might just be time to seek out Waxahatchee.