Waxahatchee – Great Thunder EP

Great Thunder offers some stunning moments from Waxahatchee and finds Katie Crutchfield at her most off guard and most personal

Album Review by Robin Murray | 06 Sep 2018
  • Waxahatchee – Great Thunder EP
Album title: Great Thunder EP
Artist: Waxahatchee
Label: Merge
Release date: 7 Sep

The past is a tremendous place to visit, so the saying goes, but you wouldn’t want to get stuck there. Thankfully, Katie Crutchfield has no need to dwell on nostalgia, but Great Thunder – the new EP by her always-evolving project Waxahatchee – definitely treads its toes on some recognisable touchstones.

Essentially material written for, but not used on, albums Cerulean Salt and Ivy Tripp, the new EP is a succinct meditation on lapsed ideas and the importance of allowing a song to find its own place in your life.

Recorded alongside producer Brad Cook at Justin Vernon’s April Base studio in Wisconsin, it’s a succinct, introverted experience. Piano ruminations underpin her searching yet fragile vocals, with opening cut Singers No Star finding Katie Crutchfield using simple, almost stark minimalism to drive home her message.

You’re Welcome is savage in its gentle delivery, with lyrics such as 'Mothers pray for a padlock on their door' cutting deeper than you might care to admit. Chapel of Pines offers plaintive wisps of Americana, while Slow You Down is nothing less than pure innocence distilled into little more than 100 seconds of music, a masterpiece in brevity and incisive lyricism.

Much more than mere offcuts, Great Thunder instead offers some stunning moments from Waxahatchee with Katie Crutchfield at her most off guard and most personal. We’re left to ruminate on the savage meaning of it all, perhaps echoing the audience in Singers No Star: 'Coming up for air for all the people who / Recognise a sadness in a stranger with less to lose.'

Listen to: Chapel of Pines, Singers No Star