Waxahatchee - 'Saint Cloud'

9/10

Since she first started her Waxahatchee project, frontwoman Katie Crutchfield has always looked to reflect her own personal texture onto preassigned genre tropes. Coupling folk and Americana-inspired tones with her distinct flair for fresh and engaging songwriting has given her a sound that feels familiar but is importantly unique to her own sense of direction. This has proven to be a winning formula for her four previous albums, but on full-length number five, it feels like she has gone above and beyond her usual guise as 'Saint Cloud' delivers a rich and wonderfully captivating listen.

Never really looking to focus itself on one particular sound for too long, 'Saint Cloud' is this broad and adventurous collection of lo-fi whimsy that simply looks to swoon and serenade at almost every turn. Not one to fill the release with layers of unnecessary production and fanfare, Crutchfield commands to attention of the listener throughout this 11-track recording, giving us a warm and uplifting record that seems to swell and mature as it plays. Tracks like 'Fire' and 'Lilacs' have these incredibly emotional qualities that many artists would die for, but seem to come so easy for the woman at the helm.

Waxahatchee has always been a name associated with quality and consistency, but on 'Saint Cloud', it feels like she has gone far further than we have heard before, unleashing one of the most relaxing and listenable records of the year so far. Crutchfield has shown us a true majesty within her work this time, something that has always been alluded to over the years.

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