The wonderful mix of loud and soft songs on the third Waxahatchee record seems to reflect the frail/bold thing New York City-via-Alabama singer/songwriter Katie Crutchfield has going on. Her voice is everything – muscular, with gritty edges, slinging forceful lines about the uncertainty of youth in an anxious but never angry way. “What do I want / What do I need / I take all the space I need,” she sings on Poison.
Most of Ivy Tripp’s songs, though, especially at the end, are exceptionally minimal – centred around that voice and those lyrics, held together with a drum machine beat, distorted guitar line or acoustic strumming. They are confessional and vulnerable, yet so strong. Of the quiet songs, only the grungy dirge slows things to a crawl.
Against the sparseness, when the full-band rockers kick in they’re all the more satisfying. Under A Rock and The Dirt are brisk, searing and memorable, bringing to mind fanzines and DIY punk venues and 90s cult hero Mary Lou Lord.
Top track: Under A Rock
Waxahatchee plays the Garrison May 10.