Waxahatchee

Out in the Storm

Merge

Jul 14, 2017 Issue #60 - Father John Misty Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

Ever since starting as a bedroom recording project and debuting with American Weekend in 2012, Katie Crutchfield has edged closer to a full-band sound. On this, her fourth album as Waxahatchee, she and her bandmates not only achieve that, but produce what is unquestionably their best album to date. Although 2015's Ivy Tripp was released after Crutchfield had ended a long-term relationship, it's Out in the Storm that feels like the definitive breakup record. Lyrically cathartic, it also roars like a lost Breeders record on tracks like the opener "Never Been Wrong," the lead single "Silver," and "Brass Beam." There are quieter moments on the record that nod to Waxahatchee's early albums, though. Of these, "Recite Remorse" is perhaps the most moving, the catchiest, and the most honest, admitting that, "I was losing my mind/I was halfway out the door." The 1-2 punch of that song plus the accusatory "Sparks Fly" is a formidable one, with Crutchfield saying that "I see myself clearly for the first time" and it thus seems to signify the emotional climax of the album.

It's the more upbeat material that really stands out here, however, as ultimately this feels like a blast of energy and catharsis as well. It also helps that Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth producer John Agnello produced this record and that he encouraged the band (which consists of Katherine Simonetti on bass, Ashley Arnwine on drums, Katie's sister Allison Crutchfield on keyboards and guitar, and lead guitarist Katie Harkin of Sleater-Kinney's touring band) to record as much of the material live as possible. If there is any doubt that labels like Merge that let artists evolve and grow are like what major labels used to be in the '70s, this album is yet more proof. With a record this good, it'll be hard for Waxahatchee to top, but one can't help but wonder what's coming next. (www.mergerecords.com/waxahatchee)

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