Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt

Katie Crutchfield, better known as Waxahatchee, has graduated from her bedroom recorded debut to a more whole feeling effort. That effort is Cerulean Salt, and despite it being a fairly bare and stripped arrangement it still packs a punch.

‘Hollow Bedroom’ leads you in serenely with only vocals and some gentle electric guitar, like the soundtrack to a Zach Braff movie, but swiftly steps up a gear. ‘Dixie Cups and Jars’ adds a pounding bass drum and constant – if simplistic – bass to march on with. While the lyrics across the album are lent a quaint feeling in their delivery Crutchfield can be quite cutting in her remarks “you’ll remain and I will find a way to leave gracefully”.

It’s hard to know quite which genre of music she is aiming for here, it’s been described as 90s alt-rock and post grunge but tracks like ‘Lips and Limbs’ have an indie folkish ring to it. ‘Coast to Coast’ and ‘Waiting’ definitely fit the 90s revival trend however, the latter being a distorted but melodic spirit. The vocals are downplayed across the album which might by why it seems a throwback to an early MTV generation. She has some vocal qualitites of Alanis Morissette swirled with the innocent confidence of Meg & Dia.

Standout track ‘Misery Over Dispute’, holding the album up all by itself. Katie breaks free of whatever spell she’s under on other tracks and begins a cawing yell alongside brash but catchy guitars. It’s a sound in direct contrast to the message portrayed in the lyrics “desperate and walked on egg shells just to choose misery over dispute”

Closing tracks ‘Peace And Quiet’ and ‘You’re Damaged’ hark back to the bedroom recording sounds and while some might suggest not resting on this type of song it does suit her best. With only a smattering of close-up vocals and naked acoustic she adds another dimension to what could have been a one dimensional album. Amazingly it hasn’t turned out that way and don’t be surprised if this record hits the “album of the year” lists, even if it doesn’t top them.

Picture Credit: ramsey everydaypants

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