Waxahatchee - Out In The Storm (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Out In The Storm (2017)


Katie Crutchfield knows how to make you cry. Under the Waxahatchee banner she's done this time and time again through a catalog that's incredibly detailed when it comes to raw, human emotion. Out In The Storm is yet another descriptive and highly vulnerable effort -- this time about an indie rocker opening up about the intimacy of break-ups. She goes through all the stages -- grief, anger and eventually, optimism -- set to a soothing backdrop that comforts you if you can relate. Life's a storm after all, and Crutchfueld manages to do a pretty spot-on job about powering through, persevering and weathering it.

Melodically, this effort hits the target more than her past ones, while still feeling as rugged as the older material. It's a lot of jagged little pills which puts her right up there with Hop Along, Camp Cope and Laura Stevenson for me. You've got indie jams such as "Never Been Wrong" and "Silver", as well as ballads that show the pop sensibility in her backpack. The organ-driven "Recite Remorse" (which feels like vows discarded and now being used to describing a potential marriage that got thrown in the fucking bin) and the post-rock/hazy "Sparks Fly" are a couple examples of this. On "A Little More" you've got another sweet acoustic, which allows her voice to really shine on and really remind you why she should be a bigger name in the game. This track ends up highlighting a flaw on the record though, in that the lo-fi and distanced vocals of Crutchfield feel a bit flat at times. I love when the instruments tail on her voice and not lead them so it's better to have her at the forefront of things. That means less lo-fi and more of her up front; clean, clear-cut and direct.

That said, it doesn't take away from the album too much because of the variation. Every track feels so unpredictable even though you know the narrative she's selling. The buzzy "Hear You" probably gives the best balance of what Waxahatchee can bring to the table in terms of sound, and helps wrap how catchy melodies can take you down memory lane with someone in terms of wanting to stay, wanting to leave, getting shit on or eventually, getting dumped. Out In The Storm works you and takes you through the motions but it ends on a note to remind you that the calm comes before and after the storm, if you let it. It's tough to get through in terms of lyrics, but musically Waxahatchee deliver yet another piece of art.