Review | Allison Crutchfield

Allison Crutchfield
Rating:

Allison Crutchfield, ‘Tourist In This Town’, Merge

Allison Crutchfield‘s (Swearin’, P.S. Eliot) debut solo album is an autobiographical account of breakups both romantic and artistic in nature. If that sounds like a hard sell, never fear: it is a joyous, heartbreaking, and robust roundup of awkward memories that still sting, and the finite nature of love.

Opening track, ‘Broad Daylight’ starts off as a minute-long a capella piece, then sparkling synths pulsate against crashing percussion. ‘I Don’t Ever Wanna Leave California’ is equally succulent post-punk in a perfect marriage of synth and indie pop.

Crutchfield’s first foray into solo terrain, 2014’s ‘Lean In To It’ experimented with synths to uneven results. However, ‘Tourist In This Town’ pairs spacious synths against confident vocals. From beginning to end, she lays down a fine balance between analog as well as electronic elements.

Stunner of the Album: ‘Dean’s Room’ features 80s style synths, like something from a grrrl-powered John Hughes movie soundtrack. The carefree sense of nostalgia, so poppy and so sincere at the same time, nails that sense of teenage euphoria flawlessly. New Order-style angular guitar work paired with engineer Jeff Ziegler’s (Kurt Vile, Steve Gunn) collection of vintage analog synthesizers is New Wave transcendence. Similarly enchanting ‘Secret Lives and Deaths’ again reaches Hughesian heights with Crutchfield’s wooing vocals and floating keys.

All is not pure synth bedroom pop. ‘The Marriage’ is a punky upstart stomper that harkens back to Crutchfield’s more punk-oriented work from her former days with P.S. Eliot and Swearin’. ‘Sightseeing’ deals with the presence of another taking up mental and physical space set against a fraught visit to Paris. Her handling of the subject matter both lyrically and sonically are tenderly crafted, perfectly conveying both mood and tone.

After working through the sorrows of losing a partner and friend, not to mention a band, Allison Crutchfield has emerged with a sincere ode to making peace with one’s own failings and flaws, and all the messes that come with both. Sometimes beauty can be found in the chaos, and Allison Crutchfield has seized just that.

Megan Beard

See Allison Crutchfield live:

6 Feb Jersey City, NJ

7 Feb Allston, MA

9 Feb Brooklyn, NY

10 Feb Philadelphia, PA

2 March Baltimore, MD

3 March Harrisonburg, VA

4 March Asheville, VA

5 March Nashville, TN

6 March Atlanta, GA

7 March Gainesville, FL

8 March Tampa, FL

9 March Orlando, FL

10 March Savannah, GA

11 March Birmingham, AL

14 March New Orleans, LA

20 March Phoenix, AZ

21 March San Diego, CA

22 March Los Angeles, CA

23 March San Francisco, CA

24 March Santa Rosa, CA

25 March Arcata, CA

26 March Portland, OR

27 March Seattle, WA

31 March Chicago, IL

1 April Columbus, Ohio

2 April Cleveland, Ohio

3 April Grand Rapids, MI

4 April Detroit, MI

5 April Toronto, ON

6 April Montreal, QC

7 April Winooski, VT

8 April Portsmouth, NH

 

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