ALBUM REVIEW: Waxahatchee Strips Her Sound Bare on ‘Great Thunder EP’

A sparse but equally stunning contrast to ‘Out In The Storm’.

Waxahatchee’s latest EP Great Thunder highlights Katie Crutchfield’s exquisite talents as both a vocalist and a songwriter.

This is accomplished not through the fierce, swirling energy that made last year’s acclaimed Out In The Storm such a stunner, but rather through six sparsely arranged songs, which she originally wrote back in 2012 for a short-lived duo she formed with Keith Spencer, bassist of the Philly band Swearin’ (which Katie’s sister Allison Crutchfield is a member of).

Revisiting those lo-fi recordings, Crutchfield sings over a simple but effective piano on opener “Singer’s No Star.” The arrangement of lead single “Chapel of Pines” grows and underscores the urgency of the existential questions Crutchfield poses for the state of Mississippi. On “Slow You Down,” the EP’s shortest song, her singing gives way to the project’s only guitar spotlight, to great effect.

At just under 18 minutes, there’s nothing to do but take in what Crutchfield has to say. For fans of Waxahatchee’s more recent efforts, be prepared for something quite different in Great Thunder. But that’s not a bad thing at all.

Score: ⛈️⛈️⛈️⛈️/5