Waxahatchee

Ivy Tripp

Merge

Apr 10, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Anyone craving a carbon copy sequel to 2013's exemplary Cerulean Salt should probably re-assess their expectations. Katie Crutchfield was a four-year veteran of punk pop band P.S. Eliot before launching her solo career; now three albums in, she's still only in her mid-20s. Until this point, her music had wrestled primarily with the ordeals of youth and growing up; perhaps, then, Ivy Tripp is the result of the years beginning to catch up with her. While previous albums dwelt on childhood summers and lost loves, the themes touched on here seem to point at an artist looking ahead at her life in search of direction.

Ivy Tripp finds Crutchfield maturing not only in lyrical subject matter, but in sound. American Weekend was recorded at her parents' Alabama lake home, and Cerulean Salt in a house she shared with a bunch of musician roommates; her latest was made in the suburban Long Island home she shares with her boyfriend/bandmate, Keith Spencer. As her recording space has grown increasingly adult, her production values have become more refined. This audible shift is made immediate by the droning buzz that opens "Breathless," Ivy Tripp's first track; the distorted organ tone conjures images of large, hollow churches rather an intimate bedroom recording. While the record's predominant acoustic thread is for massive, bright electric guitar sounds with vocals front and center-highlights such as "Under a Rock" and "Poison" recall the most vitalizing qualities of '90s power pop-the music is the most varied she's yet produced. "La Loose" is built on electronic drumbeats and tinny synthesizer; on "Stale by Noon," Crutchfield sounds as if she's singing along to a music box lullaby. The balladesque "Half Moon" may be one of the album's most traditional compositions: a beautiful, emotional vocal performance, just her voice and a piano. It's a far cry from the lo-fi surge of Cerulean Salt, but Crutchfield has progressed beyond that breakthrough LP, and begun the next phase of a career that's only trending upward.

(www.waxahatcheemusic.com)

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