On the song Coast To Coast from Waxahatchee's second full-length album, Katie Crutchfield sings, "I'll try to embrace the lows." If there's a theme running through the Alabama rock musician's work, which includes last year's critically acclaimed and totally unnoticed solo acoustic record, American Weekend, it's that: an unrepentant documenting of young-adult lows.
On the surface, Crutchfield's themes share common ground with Best Coast. There's a lot of anxiety, self-doubt and emotional defeat on display. But these songs, short and sparsely arranged, are more fragile. Crutchfield's hardly beautiful, unadorned singing helps this idea along, and the ways she uses her voice introduce a complicating factor: confidence.
That's what makes Cerulean Salt compelling. These aren't 12 sad-sack songs about the shitty ennui of being young, lonely and loveless. Crutchfield is as keen an observer as she is a songwriter, and her minor catastrophes are often resolved by getting drunk and making out. Just like real life.
Top track: Swan Dive