Waxahatchee – Out In The Storm Review


Waxahatchee records her best album by meeting the listener on their own turf.
Merge Records, 2017
Purchase: Merge Records / Amazon

8.2 / 10

Don’t tell Constantino, but I didn’t love Ivy Tripp as much as he did. I found the album well-written, but not very engaging. Katie Crutchfield was spilling her guts on vinyl, which isn’t new to Waxahatchee, but that time around the songs weren’t as catchy or immediate. And look: music doesn’t have to be catchy, but if it is, it disarms the listener and allows the artist’s spilled guts to be all the more fresh. Sorry for the mental image there. What I’m trying to say is that on Ivy Tripp, Waxahatchee was hitting all the right notes. However, something about it felt distant compared to her previous work, like the wonderful Cerulean Salt.

It’s obvious within the first two seconds of Out In The Storm that something has changed. Where Cerulean Salt and Ivy Tripp were dark confessionals, this new album, Out In The Storm, is an anthem. By cranking up the amplifiers, Waxahatchee feels like a ’90s-revival act. Back when music wasn’t always laced with distant irony or self-conscious style. “Never Been Wrong” or “No Question” could have easily been played by your college radio station while waiting for Y2K to wipe us all out. But Waxahatchee fans — Waxheads, Hatcheeheads — don’t worry, it’s not all loud, fuzzy hitters here. “Recite Remorse” and “Sparks Fly” have all the same DNA of songs from Ivy Tripp. But there’s a newfound energy to them that make them immediate and visceral.

Out In The Storm is likely Waxahatchee’s best album. Crutchfield is able to grab the listener by their lapels with both her words and music, where previous work has focused more on the “words” side of this equation. No, this record isn’t a downer, but it has the same personal, sensorial lyrical touches that you would expect from Crutchfield’s usual confessions. Cerulean Salt and Ivy Tripp sounds like diaries — Out In The Storm sounds like part of a conversation.

Key Tracks:
“Never Been Wrong”
“Sparks Fly”