Published Sep 06, 2018Katie Crutchfield's last Waxahatchee album, Out in the Storm, heard the singer-songwriter embracing a louder, rock-oriented sound, but on her latest offering, she takes a completely opposite approach.
A six-song EP, Great Thunder hears Crutchfield revisiting songs she crafted years back, with a group called Great Thunder. Brought out of obscurity and recreated with producer Brad Cook, the resulting collection is soft, sparse and stripped-down, if a little unfinished-sounding in spots.
The fuzzed-out distortion of Out in the Storm is ditched in favour of simple, piano-backed tunes that hear Crutchfield at the forefront of the mix, stretching her voice further than before.
There's a retro '60s folk singer vibe to some of the songs, like opener "Singer's No Star," which bounces along to minor chords and Crutchfield's own backing harmonies of "shoop-eh-doop," or recent live staple "Chapel of Pines."
Recorded amidst the making of Waxahatchee LPs Cerulean Salt and Ivy Tripp, Great Thunder maintains the earnestness of those albums, her vocals and lyrics still cutting straight to the heart — never more so than when her voice cracks towards the end of "Takes So Much."
Having shown herself to be an adept garage rock frontwoman in recent years, Crutchfield effortlessly slips back into the role of an intimate solo bedroom artist on Great Thunder — and proves she's one of this generation's most evocative songwriters in the process. (Merge)