Saint Cloud

Merge Records

Getting sober often involves a moment of self-reckoning, discovering what’s left after the hangovers subside for good.

Katie Crutchfield, aka Waxahatchee, devotes the majority of Saint Cloud to exploring that idea, coming to terms with herself through her trademark moving and romantic poetry, set against a musical backdrop as sparse and delicate as the wispy rural environs of her native Alabama.

The album is a beautiful ode to herself, to finding self-love on the road to sobriety and about learning to love oneself with a clear mind and open heart. Honest and unflinching, Waxahatchee’s fifth full-length turns inward in an attempt to connect outward. By learning to love herself, first, Crutchfield emerges with a deeper understanding and love for those around her.

“I take it for granted/If I could love you unconditionally/I could iron out the edges of the darkest sky,” she sings on album standout, “Fire,” written as the sun set in a molten puddle over the Mississippi River while travelling into West Memphis.

Stripped of her usual, 90s-inspired distorted guitars, the minimalist track is distinctly modern in both its arrangement and lyricism. With Saint Cloud, it’s clear that Waxahatchee is entering a new age with her head held high and a newfound appreciation for the beautiful details that surround her.

Best Track: “Fire”