Waxahatchee
Tigers Blood


3.6
great

Review

by Sowing STAFF
March 22nd, 2024 | 137 replies


Release Date: 03/22/2024 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A solid (if slightly unremarkable) follow-up to Waxahatchee's crowning achievement.

When Waxahatchee released the universally acclaimed Saint Cloud into a world of widespread illness and pandemic lockdowns in late March of 2020, it reached ears in a way that Katie Crutchfield never could have anticipated during the album's actual creation. The stripped-down musical approach, raw but sweet vocal delivery, and soul-searching lyrics resonated with listeners and created new fans in the process as we all navigated COVID-19 together. Yet, Saint Cloud was also a record that held its own regardless of external influences; it was a meticulous, beautiful, and emotional masterpiece that confronted Crutchfield's battle with alcohol and substance abuse. As she emerged triumphant, many found comfort in her journey while looking ahead towards an uncertain future.

While Tigers Blood lacks the unique context of Saint Cloud, it’s constructed very similarly. The drawn-out inflections, earthy pattering of drums, and twangy acoustic plucks all return and permeate the air with their rustic brand of Americana/country. But as with with Saint Cloud, the best moments on Tigers Blood come when Crutchfield laces those plaintive and rural vibes with just a little bit of splendor or boldness. Remember how her voice soared on ‘Oxbow’, how subtle and unshakably confident the hook of ‘Can’t Do Much’ was, or how the delicately aching pianos on ‘St. Cloud’ highlighted just how empty the room felt when she sang “Look back at me, embers aglow”? Such moments are, unfortunately, fewer and farther between on Tigers Blood; we do hear it on ‘Bored’’s ardent rock and again on the swelling, layered refrain of the title track, but most of the record feels safe, resting ever-so-slightly too comfortably in Saint Cloud’s laurels without the same charm or magic that made that album feel timeless.

That isn’t to say that Tigers Blood isn’t another very strong release from Waxahatchee, though. A lot of the lyricism resides in areas of dark contemplation that rewards deeper dives – on ‘Evil Spawn’, Katie throws depressing daggers like “your principles ripen into a fragile tomb”, while other lines evoke desolate, forsaken imagery: "a rusted out sign / jesus loves you”. MJ Lenderman’s harmony vocals and guitar contributions also add a unique flair, particularly on the aforementioned rocker ‘Bored’ and the gorgeous lead single ‘Right Back to It’. Additionally, Crutchfield weaves her trademark subtle melodies throughout Tigers Blood, with '3 Sisters', 'Ice Cold', and 'Lone Star Lake' serving up particularly addicting hooks that sound better with each listen. So while there may indeed be fewer moments that’ll take your breath away, Tigers Blood still largely carries the momentum established by Saint Cloud’s unexpected foray into folk.

Waxahatchee's latest effort is the mark of an artist effortlessly crafting great music at the top of her game, but it is also a sign of mildly diminished returns. Topping or even matching Saint Cloud was always going to be a high bar to clear, so getting another cozy, country-leaning grower is certainly something that will satisfy anyone who's become a fan of her latest stretch of releases. Another stylistic pivot in the future could prevent Waxahatchee from settling into too predictable of a groove, but even if she stays the course, it's clear with Tigers Blood that she's discovered a sustainable winning formula.



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user ratings (71)
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Cormano
March 22nd 2024


4061 Comments


this isnt the follow up to American Weekend wut

Cormano
March 22nd 2024


4061 Comments


either way im pressing x to doubt

Hawks
March 22nd 2024


86681 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

American Weekend is her crowning achievement by far agreed but whole discog is amazing. Can't wait to hear this!

Cormano
March 22nd 2024


4061 Comments


ty hawks i can always count on you to bring some common sense where there is none

artificialbox
March 22nd 2024


1490 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think this might be my favourite Waxahatchee album. I feel like her discog has grown beside me in a weird way. Like I might not have liked this album back in 2012 the same way American Weekend sounds kind of awkward to me now.

Odal
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2024


1954 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

Man, between this and Adrianne my morning coffee has been immaculate today. I am only a few songs in, but I am really enjoy the energy here, sounds like a fairly logical continuation of Saint Cloud. I was lucky enough to catch her a few years ago at pitchfork and was slightly stoned when the sunset rained gold onto her stage, and every time I listen to her it brings me right back to the warmth of that moment.

artificialbox
March 22nd 2024


1490 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Second half of the record gets even better IMO, once I hit Crimes of the Heart and Crowbar, I was in heaven.

Sowing
Moderator
March 22nd 2024


43941 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm definitely enjoying the album but I also think Saint Cloud was a whole tier higher than this.

Slex
March 22nd 2024


16497 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Bet this is extraordinary cannot wait to listen omg

Sowing
Moderator
March 22nd 2024


43941 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Is this the first time I ever underrated an album? Stay tuned to the ratings chart to find out! ;-)

DoofDoof
March 22nd 2024


14948 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I got you



This is super agreeable but it is almost 100% MOR country spruced up to appear in some way alternative.



But...it's super agreeable.

Sowing
Moderator
March 22nd 2024


43941 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't dislike this though, just to be clear. It's very good. Just lulls a bit towards the end and there are far fewer "wow" moments both musically and lyrically compared to Saint Cloud, which is the closest sonic comparison to this in her discog. I've been jamming the promo for about a week and I will say that it's a grower, however.



My early favorites are Bored, Ice Cold, Lone Star Lake, and Tigers Blood -- roughly in that order.

artificialbox
March 22nd 2024


1490 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I wont complain if this settles into another 3.6

Odal
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2024


1954 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

I'm with you Sowing, there aren't as many flashy spots but I'll be damned if this thing doesn't just make me happy

Pikazilla
March 22nd 2024


29712 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Excited to check

DoofDoof
March 22nd 2024


14948 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

bit surprised you're into Waxahatchee so much, found your country sweet spot

Pikazilla
March 22nd 2024


29712 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

it's an outlier for sure! american weekend is a borderline 5 for me

Pikazilla
March 22nd 2024


29712 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

opener here is weaksauce but the following two tracks rip

Pikazilla
March 22nd 2024


29712 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

okay, dunzo



this was nicely lighthearted and easy-going

Slex
March 22nd 2024


16497 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Aight this is incredible so far



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