Waxahatchee - Cerulean Salt - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Waxahatchee - Cerulean Salt

by Nathan Fidler Rating:7 Release Date:2013-07-01

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 by 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. 'Coast to Coast' and 'Waiting' definitely fit the 90s revival trend, however, the latter possessing a distorted but melodic spirit. The vocals are downplayed across the album, which might by why it seems a throwback to an earlier MTV generation. She has vocal qualitites reminiscent of Alanis Morissette swirled with the innocent confidence of Meg & Dia.

Standout track 'Misery Over Dispute' holds 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 bedroom recording sounds. 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 acoustics 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.

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