Monday, April 6, 2015

Gut Feeling: Waxahatchee - Ivy Tripp

Waxahatchee – Ivy Tripp
Merge, 2014
Katie Crutchfield wasted no time capitalizing on the breakout success of her sophomore effort as Waxahatchee—2013’s excellent Cerulean Salt. That album was full of concentrated ramshackle indie-pop. Perfect hooks locked in sub-three-minute shells that begged relistening the way a junkie begs you to let you have just this next one free because they’ll get you the money in three days, they promise. It was one of those albums where I AGONIZED over which track would make my year end list, because half the songs on that album were show-stopping standouts and the other half were these subtle, soulful gems that helped Crutchfield crowbar the album under your skin.

Coming off an album that was effectively vulnerability personified, leadoff track “Breathless” sounds like a flexing muscle. A beefy drone of feedback carries through the track’s four minutes, which is practically an epic by Crutchfield’s standards. It’s a slow burner, relying on the underlying feedback tones to drag you into what is effectively everything the follow up to a breakout success should be: confident, assured, and willing to jump off the cliff.

Listening to Ivy Tripp in the car, I could practically taste a 90s Merge Records vibe. I couldn’t remember who put it out, but when I arrived at my destination and had a chance to check it made perfect sense. Merge is like a time capsule, preserving bygone traditions of indie rock. Ivy Tripp is a fair bit more put together than its predecessor, and though it’s maybe three tracks too long I still found myself putting it on when I didn’t know what else to put on.

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