Waxahatchee
Cerulean Salt


4.5
superb

Review

by Adrian Hertzberg CONTRIBUTOR (31 Reviews)
March 6th, 2013 | 162 replies


Release Date: 03/05/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: and you will breathe depleted, but much better off without me

Now working under the moniker Waxahatchee after the disbandment of P.S. Eliot, Katie Crutchfield’s recent solo work can best be described as emotionally charged, lo-fi, minimalistic folk music. Her first album, American Weekend, (which was released just last year) was a record completely stripped of any fluff or musical flourishes, and delivered a straight-forward, immensely honest piece of story-telling music. The tracks all fizzle in and out, recalling that distinct boombox-era Mountain Goats kind of sound, and many of the songs (all of them, even?) rely on the same 4 chords, the same strumming pattern, and the same song structure. These are far from negatives though; in fact, many of these techniques or habits became early trademarks of her sound. The album was impressive because, in spite of all of this minimalism, Waxahatchee was still able to deliver an album full of deep meaning and massive emotional weight. The music may have been simple, but it was the backdrop that she chose to present her heart-wrenching stories of love and loss against, and the two combined to near perfection.

While the turnaround between records has been abnormally quick, much has changed on her sophomore LP, Cerulean Salt, at least on the surface. The song-writing is still about as straight-forward as you could imagine, and much of the instrumentation is still sparsely arranged around her solitary vocal line. However, this time around, her lonely acoustic guitar has gained some company. Tracks from this album regularly feature electric guitar parts, bass-guitar lines, and drums. They are not just gimmicks however, and Waxahatchee clearly demonstrates her ability to pair lyrics with an appropriate musical tone. If this means using distortion or even (gasp!) a rock beat, then that’s exactly what she does. The album is still loaded with “solo” songs (Tangled Envisioning, for example): nothing but Crutchfield’s beautiful vocals and that oh-so-lovable acoustic strumming to warm our ears. This time around though, it is clear that she has added to her arsenal, and is not afraid to use anything at her disposal to achieve that desired sound.

For the most part, like its predecessor, this album is a simple folk record, and the focus should be less on the instrumentation and how complex it may or may not be, and more on the lyrical themes of the album. Well, carrying on from where American Weekend left off, Cerulean Salt is chalk-full of intensely personal lyrics that are devastating, and desperately relatable. As a reviewer of lyrical folk music like this, it’s hard not to go on about the many incredible lyrical passages. For the record, this album definitely offers plenty to go on about, but that would be ultimately pointless. For the sake of brevity, I offer this great passage from the song ‘Swan Dive’ – a definite highlight: Won’t you sleep with me every night for a week? Won’t you just let me pretend this is the love I need? Now I will grow out of all the empty words I often speak, and you will breathe depleted, but much better off without me.

Katie Crutchfield tells her stories. They’re simple stories mainly, about lovers had and lost, about memories now fading. And really, on the whole, that’s what this album boils down to: it’s kind of simple. That word usually carries a negative connotation, but I use it in the most positive way possible. She doesn’t bother with frills, musical or lyrical, she gets to the point. And, occasionally, she’ll break your heart in the process. The emotion of this album almost jumps through the speakers – something about everything about this album just feels so real, so human and personal.

Waxahatchee’s first album was a strictly acoustic guitar and vocals offering of pure, raw emotion and a gritty lo-fi aesthetic, her Zopilote Machine or Nothing for Juice (to revisit my earlier comparison to The Mountain Goats). Cerulean Salt is a unique album in that she seems to have one foot still firmly planted in the world of stripped down, acoustic folk, and another one beginning to explore adding rock instruments and different aesthetics to her music. It’s not quite Tallahassee, but maybe it’s her All Hail West Texas. And in a way, that’s fitting, because this truly feels like a statement album from her. This is the music that Katie Crutchfield makes now, and damn is it good.



Recent reviews by this author
Manchester Orchestra CopeRegina Spektor Songs
Run the Jewels Run the JewelsThe Dillinger Escape Plan One of Us Is the Killer
The National Trouble Will Find MeLaura Stevenson Wheel
user ratings (123)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Aids
Contributing Reviewer
March 6th 2013


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

it's been streaming at nrp since february 24, officially released March 5 (today).

listen here: http://www.npr.org/2013/02/24/172495198/first-listen-waxahatchee-cerulean-salt

Digging: RATKING - So It Goes

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 6th 2013


10284 Comments


Ooh, look at my Adrian being all writer-like! ;]

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
March 6th 2013


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I want this album to get some love, the last one flew under way too many people's radar. I figured a
legit review on or near its release date would be a good way to do that, hopefully, maybe?

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
March 6th 2013


15743 Comments


gonna listen to this and give this the middling rating it PROBABLY DESERVES

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
March 6th 2013


21464 Comments


Didn't read but have a free pos cause I'm in a good mood

Digging: Aspherium - The Fall of Therenia

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
March 6th 2013


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hahaha downer god damn you

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
March 6th 2013


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

seriously though can someone listen to this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fBrSbsYt94

MichaelSnoxall
March 6th 2013


12163 Comments


Didn't read but have a free pos cause I'm in a good mood

that's pretty much as useless as an unjustified neg.

MichaelSnoxall
March 6th 2013


12163 Comments


I'll listen to this just for you, Aidsrian.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
March 6th 2013


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

does no one read reviews anymore or...

MichaelSnoxall
March 6th 2013


12163 Comments


I think Ins was the only one who didn't read it

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
March 6th 2013


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

well andcas definitely didn't but that's not what I meant. does anyone have anything to say about the
review? I have one "didn't read pos" so far, werd. it's been up over an hour, but maybe I posted it at
a bad time?

MichaelSnoxall
March 6th 2013


12163 Comments


Oh, well good review. I'm not one for offering heavy critique. It read well and you got the general idea of the album across. I'll pos.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
March 6th 2013


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

churz

i mean really the most important thing is that now we have a thread for this so me and spare can go "this is awesome" over and over again

DBlitz
March 6th 2013


1690 Comments


downloding this off of the label's site was annoying as fuck

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
March 6th 2013


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

really? damn, I'm probably gonna order the vinyl and I'll be wanting my download immediately.

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
March 6th 2013


21464 Comments


michael why are you such a debbie downer

MichaelSnoxall
March 6th 2013


12163 Comments


Ins, maybe you should just read his review and pos it on its merit. You're not helping anyone by pos'ing is for no reason, that's not what the system is for. It doesn't tell him he's done a good job on the review when it's a meaningless pos because you didn't read it.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
March 6th 2013


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

please don't do this on this thread, go elsewhere

Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
March 6th 2013


21464 Comments


im sorry youre absolutely right bro

i think ima make an alt and pos it again just for you



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy