Waxahatchee Saint Cloud Merge Records
Katie Crutchfield’s thrillingly scathing last album, Out in the Storm, started with a pile-on of abrasive guitars and a direct address to a loser ex-boyfriend. Latest offering Saint Cloud, on the other hand, begins with a meditative drumbeat and a dreamy, knowing chant: “I want it all”. This juxtaposition of opening intents signal that Crutchfield is feeling more like herself than ever. Why sing about other people when you’re on a journey all of your own?
Saint Cloud didn’t come easily, however. Katie recently told Rolling Stone that she went sober and moved from Philadelphia to Kansas City in order to be in the right headspace to write it. And while her output as Waxahatchee has always been brave, this album possesses a new kind of strength. Crutchfield’s knack for celestial storytelling comes into its own when she narrates her own struggle for self-acceptance. This includes harking back to the genre that formed her relationship with music: country. From the elegant and wistful guitar riffs on tracks like Can’t Do Much to her Alabama accent flying high on Lilacs, hearing Crutchfield lean into her Southern roots feels her most natural expression yet.