Waxahatchee - Cerulean Salt
The new album from Waxahatchee, the alter ego of Katie Crutchfield, finally gets a UK release a full four months after its US debut. This follow-up to last year's effort has been recorded in the same low-key fashion in Crutchfield's bedroom, this time eschewing her previous folk acoustic stylings and roping in some of her roommates and friends to play back up. With production again by Don Giovanni, Cerulean Salt keeps that rougher lo-fi feel, just with added volume. In some ways Crutchfield has made quite a throwback album, its female grungy indie-pop hasn't been heard for a while.
Opening track 'Hollow Bedroom' sets the template, the simple yet effective arrangement of guitar, bass and vocals are replicated throughout, as are the short punchy running times. The Pixies-esque 'Dixie Cups And Jars' typifies the lo-fi bassy feel of the album; in fact a lot of the album owes a debt to the path blazed 25 years ago by Frank, Kim and co. Tracks like 'Lips And Limbs' and 'Swan Dive' have a quiet, soft feel to them, and sound almost uplifting despite the lyrical content. 'Coast To Coast' has an almost surf-pop sheen; add in an acoustic number ('Tangled Envisioning') and you've a deeper album than it first seems. With some tough lyrical themes, this can be a challenging album but musically, it is worthy of your time and effort.