HomeUncategorizedWaxahatchee Is Still Growing on the Immaculate Tigers Blood

Waxahatchee Is Still Growing on the Immaculate Tigers Blood



In 2020, Waxahatchee went from indie darling to alt-country hero with the release of the excellent Saint CloudThe record, which became one of our favorite albums of Consequence’s first 15 years, was songwriter Katie Crutchfield’s fifth under the Waxahatchee moniker. Yet, in many ways, it felt like a debut of something entirely new, as if Crutchfield had shed both internal and external expectations of what she should be and fully leaned into the artist she actually was. Now, with Tigers Blood, Crutchfield looks to avoid the proverbial sophomore slump of the post-Saint Cloud era of her career — and, boy howdy, does she do just that.

Tigers Blood doubles down on the epiphanies of Saint Cloud to stunning results. The project offers another helping of warm, mid-tempo, intensely melodic indie rock that’s steeped in southern hospitality and Lucinda Williams-esque country. Such a tone lays the groundwork for remarkably honest, surprisingly small-scale tales, with Crutchfield depicting snapshots of her lived experience as a sober, relatively settled-down artist in her mid-30s. It only serves to affirm what was already readily apparent: Crutchfield is a damn good songwriter, a damn good performer, and a damn good storyteller.

The lead single, “Right Back to It,” made as much obvious from the get-go, dispelling any fears fans (or Crutchfield herself) had that Saint Cloud was some sort of genius fluke. Backed by gentle banjo, the track examines familiarity, reflecting Crutchfield’s experience coming home to the same person night after night, as well as her tendency to be suspicious of such stillness and stability. “I let my mind run wild/ Don’t know why I do it,” she sings. “But you just settle in/ Like a song with no end/ If I can keep up/ We’ll get right back to it.”

 

These intersections of small, daily struggles and quiet moments of truth are continuously woven throughout the 12 tracks of Tiger Blood, be it the portrayal of codependency as it relates to dealing with addiction in “365” or a picture of a lazy date to the only lake in Kansas in “Lone Star Lake.” They’re most certainly love songs in the sense that they are indeed about love, but Crutchfield grounds them in reality, resisting rose-tinted theatrics and instead portraying the delicate nuance of maintaining a successful relationship. It’s less Romeo and Juliet and more the Before trilogy.

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Crutchfield’s musings on personal maintenance aren’t limited to romance either. Take the gorgeous penultimate cut “The Wolves,” which chronicles the mundane, constant effort it takes to keep the ghosts of the past at bay. “It don’t ease up on me/ You know I stay in a hurry, babe/ I miss a lot of good things,” she sings in between metaphors of locked doors while songs on the radio forcefully resurface memories. Whether it’s sobriety, dormant habits, or old mistakes, Crutchfield knows there’s no easy off switch.



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