Waxahatchee is an artist that I’ve paid just enough attention to write about occasionally on this blog, but without really having a ton to say about. Which is to say that pretty much any album I go to the trouble of reviewing is most likely something I like. But then again, sometimes I just need something to write about, so why not write about a new Waxahatchee record? Well, I’m happy to say this isn’t one of those times, since this is probably my favorite batch of songs from Katie Crutchfield yet, and proof that she’s just a really fantastic songwriter who’s probably gonna be sticking around for a while. Hmmm… actually, that was pretty vague and non-specific, so maybe I won’t have anything insightful to say about Out In The Storm.
Either way, the most distinctive thing I can say about Out In The Storm (other than that Katie Crutchfield’s songs are really good) is that it is a Confident rock record, with a capital “C”. Gone are the meager lo-fi tendencies of her early recordings, which admittedly had a charming simplicity to them. Which made the songs almost feel like journal entries that were a little too concise and astute to be journal entries, so they ended up as these catchy little indie rock ditties. But everything here feels a little bit bigger, but without ever feeling too big.
I think that’s because, as always, Crutchfield is great at digging into whatever inner emotions she’s going through, and turning it into something both messy and breezy at the same time. Meanwhile, there are some surprisingly stomping songs here like “Silver” or “Hear You”, that reveal a side to Crutchfield’s songwriting that proves it’s possible to turn the doubt and frustration of your 20s into something grand and triumphant if you just keep pushin’ hard enough.
As I kind of hinted at earlier, Waxahatchee has ended up being one of those artists that I’ve held on to longer than I would’ve imagined, and it’s hard to say if I’ll continue to care about future Waxahatchee records, but I hope so. As I said, Kate Crutchfield has shown herself to be this consistently reliable songwriter, like, say a John Darnielle or a Neko Case. And like those artists, I think her music will be most impressive another five or ten years from now, when you can look back on the whole body of work with a sense of cohesiveness, while Out In The Storm may end up looking like the album where she really kicked it up a notch.
Favorite Tracks: “Never Been Wrong”, “Silver”, “Sparks Fly”