As a follow-up to the roaring Out In The Storm, Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield decided to pare back her sound for a new collection of songs called Great Thunder. The name comes from an old project of Crutchfield’s, one that she formed with former Swearin’ bassist Keith Spencer. It’s an act of reclamation, recontextualizing these songs within Waxahatchee’s own path.
These six songs were recorded with Brad Cook at Justin Vernon’s April Base studio in Wisconsin, and it’s a piano-heavy affair, placing Crutchfield’s voice against a bed of warm keys and crackling atmosphere. It’s a stark contrast to the revved-up rocking that marked Crutchfield’s last album, but it is a welcome reminder that her songwriting and voice is breathtaking in any context. My favorite here is the closer, “Take So Much,” in which a defeated Crutchfield begs to take on a partner’s burden. It’s only in hindsight that it’s apparent that sort of power dynamic isn’t built to last.