Wednesday 13 December 2017

Guitar girl's gorgeous grunge

Tunes: Honest Katie Crutchfield
Tunes: Honest Katie Crutchfield
John Meagher

John Meagher

Album Review: Waxahatchee Cerulean Salt (Wichita) 3 STARS

"Lena Dunham with a guitar" is how one critic described Katie Crutchfield – aka Waxahatchee – and it's an apt comparison.

Crutchfield's fiercely intelligent, brutally honest and wryly funny observations are cut from the same cloth as the one-woman industry behind the acclaimed HBO series Girls.

This is the Alabama native's second album and finds her flitting from sparse acoustic songs to grunge-inflected material.

The latter's laid-back approach helps to foreground her vocals and makes the listener take note of what she has to say – yet, the simplicity of the arrangements veers on the crude in places and the sense of sameness is hard to ignore.

She's on more intriguing ground when her songs embrace grunge and her avowed love of early 1990s alternative rock shines through.

While there is an undeniable whiff of hipster here, Crutchfield's ability to craft songs to burn themselves into your heart is not in question: listen to the emotionally wracked Swan Dive, a warts-and-all love song to a potential suitor.

KEY TRACKS Dixie Cups and Jars; Swan Dive

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