Waxahatchee’s “Ivy Tripp”
By Nic Sanderson
Katie Crutchfield, the singer-songwriter behind the Waxahatchee moniker, possesses the capability to formulate just the sort of sincere humanity the devoted listener yearns for when doused in artists flaunting ostentation and posturing. She casts off ornamentation by embracing the potentials of short, straightforward pop structures. This ability shines through many of the projects which compose her extensive pedigree, including The Ackleys and P.S. Eliot, and certainly is not left behind amidst the sonic expansion of Waxahatchee’s most recent record, “Ivy Tripp”, released on April 7. On her previous album, “Cerulean Salt”, she expresses youthful humility through the bare-bones of songs at her own speed and volume, which gives her the freedom to reflect the emotion at the root of subject matter such as love and aging.
“Ivy Tripp” features more varied instruments, including an assortment of keyboards and synthesizers, which are layered in more intricate ways to produce a greater sense of physical space. Compared to her more contained earlier work, it feels diverse and dynamic. While previously drums had followed her closely, they now feel distant, sometimes as if they’re in the next room. While Waxahatchee continues to arrange tight hooks among straightforward progressions, there’s less patchwork present, as each section builds and flows organically into the next.
The track “Under a Rock” is a bouncy, driving romp which merrily cascades off from the start with her lyrical acidity at the helm until the biting line “The brick house that you built around your cranium/you wear it like a crown” leaves the listener to the dense arranged sublimity of the guitar-driven instrumentation. Meanwhile, the track “La Loose” is (composed of) drum-machine beats and ambient synth lines while Crutchfield pensively confesses “I selfishly want you here to stick to” with a wispy and wandering melody. Waxahatchee’s “Ivy Tripp” manages to capture a wide range of moods and arrangements while subtly injecting her own youthful catchiness and reshaping it to adapt.