On her first two albums, 2012’s ‘American Weekend’ and 2013’s ‘Cerulean Salt’, Alabama-raised singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield backed exquisitely delicate melodies with a tough grunge sensibility. The 26-year-old’s simple songs about love and loss cut deep, thanks to the bedroom production style and guitar more ragged than Kurt Cobain’s favourite cardigan. In the two years since ‘Cerulean Salt’, Crutchfield has become something of a poster girl for heavy-hearted indie kids. She’s also toured with Jenny Lewis, featured on the soundtrack for US zombie-drama The Walking Dead and worked with Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein and a host of other female musicians for online magazine Rookie, collaboratively creating a song called ‘Go Forth, Feminist Warriors’.
After this increasing headway, ‘Ivy Tripp’ is slicker than its predecessors, but Crutchfield’s emotional rawness hasn’t been glossed over. “I watch you anxiously/The pain it’s celestial/the pain it’s serene”, she near spits on the full-band fury of ‘Poison’, evidently still fully fucked off with the object of her affections. With harmonies provided by her sister Allison (who makes frayed indie of her own in Swearin’), ‘Stale By Noon’ is a lighter take on the same romantic confusion, as over ponderous Casiotone keys she moons “I can imitate some kind of love/or I could see if for what it is/and stop kidding myself”. She offloads the burden on ‘Under A Rock’ though, shrugging, “now you’re someone else’s mess tonight” while clattering through a lilting punk kiss-off.
The majority of these 13 songs loiter around the two and a half minute mark, but album number three doesn’t go by in a flash. Drone assisted opener ‘Breathless’, the acoustic led ‘Summer of Love’ and the peaceful piano-plinking ‘Half Moon’ give ‘Ivy Tripp’ a generous feeling of space and uncomplicated calm, like a leisurely glass of moderately priced wine at the end of a frantic day. They offer breathing room around jangling rock’n’roll sucker-punch ‘The Dirt’, ‘Grey Hair’’s gutsy riffing and the drum-machine stutters of ‘La Loose’, which come over like Le Tigre reclining beachside on a lazy summer’s afternoon. ‘Ivy Tripp’ finds Katie Crutchfield wounded as ever, then, but she’s putting up one hell of a fight.
- Director: Kyle Gilbride, Keith Spencer, Katie Crutchfield
- Record label: Wichita
- Release date: 06 Apr, 2015