Like the River
Like many indie artists, Katie Crutchfield has a knack for coming up with kitschy band names. Her first project was a pop-punk band with her twin sister Allison called P.S. Elliot. The band, named after the poet, disbanded in 2007 in part because Crutchfield wanted more control over the sound. The result seizing total creative control is the equally quirky-named Waxahatchee, after a river in Alabama. Her latest album, Ivy Tripp, is as varied and idiosyncratic as the river and its name would suggest.
Musical stylings on Ivy Tripp range from spacious electronic sounds, “Breathless” and “Stale by Noon,” to the grungy nineties singer-songwriter vibe, “Under a Rock” and “The Dirt.” Lyrically, the songs are pure pop. Their content never goes past the boy who couldn’t love her the way she wanted him to or her shortcomings. The way Waxahatchee does it, however, is pretty original.
For example, on the aforementioned, “Under a Rock,” Waxahatchee digs deep into the reasons why she dove into someone that she knew was wrong, “Maybe I let on that I was interested / In your brand of lonely / A book you cracked once and never read.” It is these lines that stop you in your tracks.
Sometimes it is the combination of the music and lyrics that make the song remarkable. This happens on “Stale by Noon,” when the childlike, xylophone-esque and sparse synth combines with lyrics like “Ethereal, I’m in bloom / Torturing the afternoon / Simple things will light me up,” to make listeners feel as though they have been transported to a forest where it has just rained.
While many of the songs on the first half of Ivy Tripp are understated, the second half of the album has more robust guitar, as Waxahatchee begins to really project her voice, which has the untrained simplicity of the riot grrrls. This assures that listeners will never get bored, but how could they with a name like Waxahatchee?