Cerulean Salt - Waxahatchee
Cerulean Salt Image
Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

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7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

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  • Summary: The second full-length release for former P.S. Eliot singer Katie Crutchfield includes backing from Swearin' members Keith Spencer, Kyle Gilbride, and her twin sister, Allison Crutchfield.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. Sometimes we believe we care, what happens in the tuneful drywall of her shambling dreams.
  2. 85
    One of Cerulean Salt’s great triumphs is that we believe in these people, the album’s intimacy heightens its sense of realism, its characters feel living.
  3. Mar 6, 2013
    80
    The nakedness of Crutchfield’s music is the source of both its confidence and its vulnerability.
  4. 80
    While American Weekend had clear standouts in tracks like "Be Good" and "Bathtub," Cerulean Salt manages to maintain a consistently high quality throughout.
  5. Jul 10, 2013
    80
    A lot to take in, then, but a lethally brilliant concoction. [Aug 2013, p.107]
  6. Jul 10, 2013
    70
    The effervescent punk-pop of The Breeders is a touchstone, as is Kimya Dawson's ramshakle honesty, but "Lips And Limbs" affects a subtle country twang, while on the terrific "Blue Pt. II," skeletal acoustic acoustics and frank lyrics document a stagnating love affair. [Aug 2013, p.79]
  7. 40
    It's confessional solipsism, lacking the musical compulsion to make one care.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Dec 12, 2013
    9
    As an avid fan of what my girlfriend calls “sissy-boy emo,” lyrics rip my heart out on a fairly regular basis. Throw on something twinkly likeAs an avid fan of what my girlfriend calls “sissy-boy emo,” lyrics rip my heart out on a fairly regular basis. Throw on something twinkly like Grown Ups’ “Three Day Weekend” or Mineral’s “Palisade” and I’m liable to melt into an emotional puddle at a moment’s notice.

    That may be why it was so surprising when Waxahatchee’s sophomore LP hit me like a ton of bricks this year. Singer and guitarist Katie Crutchfield wrote thirteen tracks without impossible time signatures, obscure tunings, or guitar lines you’d need an advanced engineering degree to deconstruct. Without utilizing any emo cliches, Cerulean Salt made me feel more than any song Chris Carrabba has written in his entire preppy life.

    I first came across Waxahatchee on last year’s debut, American Weekend. I was instantly smitten by the emotionally raw lyrics and Crutchfield’s heart-wrenching vocal performances on songs like “Grass Stain” and “Michel.” Unfortunately, the rough quality that made these tracks so intimate, grew a bit grating as the album wore on and deterred me from delving deeper into it.

    While the lo-fi minimalism of her debut is gone, the polished quality of Cerulean Salt makes Katie’s songwriting shine brighter than ever. The addition of Swearin’s Kyle Gilbride and Keith Spencer on bass and drums brings new life to Waxahatchee’s folk-tinged punk that Crutchfield couldn’t as a solo act.

    Many of Waxahatchee’s lyrics deal with messy relationships (romantic or otherwise) and the band’s earnest songwriting ensures the lyrics hit home. Gilbride and Spencer do more than add a backing track to the heartbreaking lyrics. The band know how to make the emotions of Crutchfield’s lyrics wash over every aspect of a song.

    Crutchfield uses incredible detail when describing a close friend’s struggle with drug addiction over the quiet-loud progression of “Lively.” The delicate drum rolls that underscore her lilting vocals on “Swan Dive” propel the song’s forlorn lyrics from sad to “oh my god I’m going to start crying on the subway” territory. While the sunny guitar trills of “Coast To Coast” counter the end of the album’s melancholy vibe and make the song the perfect track to score a summer road trip.

    I still get chills every time I hear Katie croon “In this dejection/lives a connection/tied to your vain silence and all my resistance” on album closer “You’re Damaged.” The connection that she sings about is why Cerulean Salt tore me, and many other listeners, to shreds in a way that no other album could this year.
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  2. Mar 12, 2013
    9
    This album has all of the sounds of a classic rock album. I'm not a "critic" critic, but I know the sound of a great album when I hear it. (InThis album has all of the sounds of a classic rock album. I'm not a "critic" critic, but I know the sound of a great album when I hear it. (In fact, this one is just as good as LIz Phair's "Exile in Guyville" if not as long.) Intelligent and honest lyrics, good acoustics and singer Katie Crutchfield's vocals and persona all work for an enjoyable listen that will keep me raving to it many times over. Expand
  3. Jul 4, 2013
    6
    Katie Crutchfield presents us with Waxahatchee’s second album Cerluean Salt. The album is low-fi, acoustic and vocal heavy. It’s the albumKatie Crutchfield presents us with Waxahatchee’s second album Cerluean Salt. The album is low-fi, acoustic and vocal heavy. It’s the album that I wouldn’t usually listen to, but she has me coming back to it because I’m intrigued with her blend of fuzzy sweet sadness. The album has that sad feeling of failure woven into it’s sound, it’s wonderful vocal heavy sound where Katie’s vocals can really shine, and they add to the low-fi 90′s feel that the album carries from beginning to end. But it’s this sound that proves to be difficult at points. Sometimes it can be too much, it can become too familiar and it wears a little thin on tracks like “Lips and Limbs” which I feel that the track doesn’t really get my attention, and that’s always been my problem with this type of music. It’s underlying problem, for me, is that I’ve heard it all way too much before.

    However, the album really glows, it does so in a timid and vulnerable way, but it is great in places, such as “Blue Pt. II” which is so bare and stripped back instrumentally, and with the minimal soft vocal production, it becomes something beautiful. “Brother Bryan” is another strong song on the album, again, it is minimal with just a bass and bare elements of a drum kit. In contrast to these songs you have “Coast to Coast” which has a fuller sound, a sound that the album needs and welcomes.

    “Misery over Dispute” carries a really fuzzy guitar tone and “Swan Dive” carries a really indie and jangly guitar tone, but the changes between sounds, seem to fit.

    Overall, the album can be pleasant in it’s woe, but it’s issue is that it can become burdened by the softer sounds over the thirteen tracks. It still makes for an enjoyable listen, it can just be one that can become slightly stale in the odd place.
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