Waxahatchee - American Weekend (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Waxahatchee

Waxahatchee: American Weekend

American Weekend (2012)

Don Giovanni Records


3.5
Waxahatchee is actually just one person: Katie Crutchfield, formerly of the indie-pop outfit PS Eliot. However, having recently acquainted myself with some of that band's output I'd say that there is very little to compare between her current solo work and that group, although if I delved deeper who...

Waxahatchee is actually just one person: Katie Crutchfield, formerly of the indie-pop outfit PS Eliot. However, having recently acquainted myself with some of that band's output I'd say that there is very little to compare between her current solo work and that group, although if I delved deeper who's to say I wouldn't find that missing link?

Whereas PS Eliot was all about lush, sweet indie-pop songs that bring to mind bands like Heavenly and occasionally the Shop Assistants, Waxahatchee is a much bleaker piece of work and has a raw, lo-fi quality that is taken to the extreme. But in that rawness, it is still possible to find an appealing warmth within the songs. The lo-fi quality somehow manages to enhance that warmth and what you have here is a collection of heartfelt songs that exude many feelings, certainly for the listener and presumably for Katie Crutchfield herself. Crutchfield has a voice which can sound haunting, almost ethereal, yet retains a power and substance to it which stops the songs from becoming backing music as can so often happen when artists take the route to something of a minimalist output.

Those vocal abilities, therefore, allow this album to work very well as each song takes on a life of its own, displaying more emotions than you might imagine, from fragility to strength displayed both in the vocals and the words they convey. The more I listen to this, the more I appreciate those lyrics and the work behind them. This might not be everyone's cup of tea but I'm certain that many will find it an intriguing and beguiling listen, much as I have. Whilst listening to the track "Bathtub" I had this freaky moment when Crutchfield's voice sounded like Mike Ness of Social Distortion, and on repeated plays this is borne out each time. I'd be interested in hearing a Social Distortion version of this song although I guess I'll be waiting forever.

There are a number of tracks that stand out here and I find the title track to be the one that I always enjoy the most. However, "Catfish," "Be Good" and "Luminary Blake" have also taken residence in my head as well.