Review: Waxahatchee – ‘Ivy Tripp’

waxahatchee ivy tripp

Waxahatchee

Ivy Tripp (Wichita)

7/10

Katie Crutchfield is clearly someone who likes to think deeply about things. It doesn’t seem to matter what the circumstances are, be they the demise of a long standing relationship or the general minutiae of life, Crutchfield seems ready to contemplate, pen and guitar at the ready. Operating under the moniker Waxahatchee (named after a creek in her home town in Alabama) Crutchfield has used the small things in life that may pass most people by as the observational arsenal for her songwriting since she began with her debut American Weekend back in 2012, an album that was recorded at breakneck speed with only a single acoustic guitar and her voice direct into a 4-track, which is about as intense as it gets. Her sophomore Cerulean Salt saw Crutchfield shoot towards more amplified territory deploying a full rhythm section and even some overdubs. But this only seemed to drive the emotive force of her songs even further. Now, Crutchfield has decided throw another curveball and push things further still by way of her third album Ivy Tripp.

It’s not like there was any intention of hiding the shift in direction as album opener ‘Breathless’ sets Crutchfield’s new found penchant for using keyboards front and centre. But don’t worry, we’re not talking about any Rick Wakeman style ivory tinkling antics here, the warm drone lets you know the approach is as lo-fi as ever and the starkness is unflinching.

But Crutchfield hasn’t abandoned the rock ‘n’ roll set up entirely as the reflective, energetic resonance of ‘Under A Rock’ proves. The track is a perfect punch of young rebellion told through the vizor of a soured relationship, and it showcases exactly how Waxahatchee can turn a simple riff and three-piece arrangement into a towering multiple of the sum of its parts.

But by the time ‘Blue’ and ‘Air’ come around Crutchfield gives her answer to every failing relationship she seems to have had. Ivy Tripp is a testament to Waxahatchee’s prophetic songwriting and also delivers a melodic sucker-punch of emotion. At once affecting and experimental, Ivy Tripp is definitely worth… well, the trip.

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