Katie Crutchfield (aka Waxahatchee) is known for her soulful sound. Her debut American Weekend was more of an Americana Wet-dream as it toyed around with the kind of suburbanite indie music that make Zach Braff weep. Then followed similarly heartfelt and emotionally bruised efforts in Cerulean Salt and Ivy Tripp which both showcased Waxahatchee perfectly – a raw emotion conveyed with honesty and without trying to achieve anything in particular. It felt true.
The fourth album though is something entirely different. As you might imagine from the title, Out In The Storm is decidedly more dramatic, a touch more blustery and with a fuck ton more thunder.
It rings out across the proverbial valley with a sense of commanding and a deep level of excitement as the rumble of Katie Crutchfield reaches its peak. All weather puns aside, this is the album to push Waxahatchee to another level entirely.
Tracks like ‘Never Been Wrong’ shout at the first hurdle and let the listener know that this is not your usual affair. The heavy bassline and sonic distortion allow Crutchfield’s writing to be seen for the first time with a fuzzy background, allowing each word to ring clear as a bell.
‘Sparks Fly’ offers another picture worth hanging in a gallery as its emotional imagery lets the Alabama born Crutchfield really express herself. This isn’t a departure from what made Waxahatchee brilliant, this is adding an extra layer of brilliance.
Other notable tracks such as ‘8 Ball’ and ‘Hear You’ offer a glimpse in to the more adult, more functional and more turbulent life Katie Crutchfield now faces. It makes for a more textured and fearsome sound. Each track feeling decidedly more edged than her previous albums.
Out In The Storm shows Crutchfield in a whole new light. It shows a singular image of a life that has continued to meander and change, an image of woman facing a changing world, the flash of a grittier development, the tableaux of a tumultuous time. It’s a glimpse provided by the thunder and lightning of one of her best albums to date.