Katie Crutchfield has done a hell of a job building up her reputation in the indie underground the past few years, releasing two rock-solid albums for the Don Giovanni label. Now, graduated to Merge, her Waxahatchee project has delivered a diverse, surprising record in “Ivy Tripp” that should open plenty of eyes and ears and win her a bigger following.
Crutchfield goes an edgier, noisier route on these songs, feeling like she borrowing some pages from early Liz Phair and even “Choirgirl Hotel” era Tori Amos, and she just smokes and stuns on these 13 impressive cuts that don’t have a weakling among them.
Opener “Breathless” doesn’t feel like it’s trying to do too much and floats in the air with Crutchfield insisting, “I’m not trying to be yours.” From there, she continually impresses on gruff, spirited “Poison”; grimy, punk noir-fed “The Dirt”; damaged, slurry “<” where she jabs, “You’re less than me, and I am nothing”; and emotionally scarred and draining “Half Moon.” If you’re not familiar with Crutchfield’s music, please change that. (Brian Krasman)