Review: Waxahatchee – Ivy Tripp

Carrying on with the stripped down production and low-fi vocals that have characterized their last two albums, Waxahatchee’s third studio album brings a new maturity without compromising the raw, youthful writing that has characterized Katie Crutchfield’s musical projects.

Since their first album, Waxahatchee has moved away from its Alabama roots, signed with a new record label, opened for Tegan and Sara, and headlined multiple international tours. Crutchfield’s career is on the upswing, and Ivy Tripp reflects this significant growth with a new level of investigative emotional maturity.

On Ivy Tripp, Waxahatchee trades in the stereotypical love, loss, and spite stories so often tied to the female rock genre for lyrical windings through life’s often uneven ground. Ivy Tripp sets an album-long tone of no-nonsense honesty with its first track, “Breathless”: “I’m not trying to be a rose/ you see me how I wish I was/ but I’m not trying to be seen”, paving the way for Crutchfield’s chronicling of the vague white spaces between life’s extreme highs and pitfall lows. This is particularly pronounced in median tracks such as “Stale by Noon”: “I could stop praying for everybody, I’m just wasting my time/I’ll read your philosophy and get a new lease on life/I get lost, looking up.”

Ivy Tripp is as contextual and honest as the project’s previous two albums, but brings in a grounded confidence that distinguishes this EP from its predecessors, Cerulean Salt and American Weekend. Ivy Tripp is a contemplative and intelligent analysis of the realities of the day-to-day, with a level of emotional breadth that marks Crutchfield’s obvious musical growth since her debut in 2012.

Waxahachee isn’t singing about super events or stand out moments; she’s writing anthems for the undefined feelings that make up the impulsive and measured realities of life. Ivy Tripp diverts from the introspective, occasionally self-deprecating lyrics that made up Waxahatchee’s previous two albums to offer boldly emotional tracks that are as personal as they are relatable.

Waxahatchee’s signature low production, electric guitar-charged composition is as intentionally ragged as the lyrics it backs. There’s a very DIY, 90’s garage aspect to the album that further grounds the track in its grungy, rock roots. The album is expertly organized, mixing catchy, hook-driven tracks with those whose lyrics poetically meander away from traditional song structures to provide a compilation as complex and surprising as the experiences it depicts.

Ivy Tripp is a grungy ode to the unstable and unreliable in which Waxahatchee combines eloquent stream of consciousness with simplistic musical backings to offer a deeply accessible album with significant emotional depth.

Katelyn Harrop

Image: cloudfront.net

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