Waxahatchee is a remnant of the late punk rock band P.S. Eliot. When the latter disbanded last month after a four year run, the lead singer Katie Crutchfield went off on her own, and began performing under the name Waxahatchee. Her first album, “American Weekend”, was released through Don Giovanni Records on January 11. Fans of P.S. Eliot will find that Waxahatchee has taken a departure from her previous band's genre of punk rock with this new album. “American Weekend” is more of a soft rock style similar to Jason Mraz.
Musically, the album feels repetitive. There are only a few chords used throughout each song, and the progressions are continually repeated. In addition, many of the songs in the album feel very similar, and their structures are much the same. As a result, all the songs end up sounding alike.
Vocally, however, this album shows promise. The lyrics are creative, distinctive and varied, but are, however, limited by the vocal quality. Some of the singing is very breathy, and makes the lyrics unintelligible. Other times, Waxahatchee hits the other end of the spectrum and ends up squawky, drowning out the music. This lack of balance between the different sounds is the weakest point of the album.
“American Weekend” shows promise, but it needs significant refining. The lyrics are great, but the balance needs work, and the album begs for more variety in its musical structure. This is a good album to listen to while studying, as the repetitive and generally mellow songs won’t grab your attention — but therein lies the problem. If you really like mellow solo music or enjoyed Katie Crutchfield's previous work, you might want to check this album out. Though “American Weekend” isn’t quite worth picking up, the artist herself shows promise. Look forward to hearing what she produces once she addresses some balance issues and starts taking more risks.
Look for instead: Jason Mraz, P.S. Eliot, The Sidekicks