Ivy Tripp is the third album released by Waxahatchee, a remarkable indie rock project led by American singer / songwriter Katie Crutchfield. In a recent interview talking about the concept of the album and its meaning, Crutchfield claimed that “The record is about directionlessness. It applies to a generational thing. A generational directionlessness of people wandering through life, or trying to find things that make them happy without [conforming to] the structure generations behind us have had.” Which in essence makes a lot of sense, because the musical variety throughout Ivy Tripp is expansive and fruitful in equal measure without necessarily conforming to one set sound.
Self-recorded and produced in various buildings throughout New York – rather than in the studio to avoid a ‘clinical’ sound, Waxahatchee have created something of such integral beauty and subtle fragility that it would be near impossible to fall under its charm. Crutchfield‘s voice borders the fine lines between serenity and fragile tenderness with her touching lyrics, whilst the music sounds like the soundtrack to a summertime road trip in 1994. However, this is not to say that Ivy Tripp is strictly lying on the 90’s nostalgia in order to make itself relevant, because even though Waxahatchee have no shame in creating music and style akin to the Generation X era of pop culture, it still sounds entirely contemporary and completely justified without sounding like anything from 2015.
There are some truly beautiful and incredible moments on this album that have to be noted. Take for example the spine-chillingly elegant album opener ‘Breathless‘, the stripped back and hypnotic ‘Air‘, the gentle acoustic ballad ‘Summer Of Love‘, and even the life affirming grit of ‘Under A Rock‘. There are so many wonderful moments on this album that are sequenced and compiled in terrific order. However with all the positives there is always a downside. Whilst it is not a bad song by any means, ‘Less Than‘ is arguably the weakest song on Ivy Tripp. It more so sounds like a lo-fi stoner jam session, but the irony in this is that it fits the album’s conceptual criteria perfectly – directionless. So one guesses there is a poetic underlining within all of this!
Waxahatchee holed themselves up for a year recording this album in 2014, and have made an overwhelming gem of an album that is perfect for any listening occasion. A variety of musical diversity that is led by the beautifully frail and emotionally fuelled voice of Katie Crutchfield, this is a genuinely pleasant treat for any music listener. It goes without saying, you will be hearing a lot more from Waxahatchee in the upcoming months, and even if you are at a little loss of direction with what to listen to next, then let Ivy Tripp be your helping guide to the right path on your musical journey. Incredible listening and, in this writers opinion, the best indie rock album of 2015 so far. If anyone feels like trying to contend this then please step forward!