Katie Crutchfield's newest release is one of her best

Midway through the first track on Waxahatchee's new record, Out in the Storm (Merge), the chugging guitars and fist-pumping drums drop out as a harmonized Katie Crutchfield sings, “Everyone will hear me complain / Everyone will pity my pain.” It's one of the best moments on one of the best pop-rock songs of 2017, embodying both the confidence and vulnerability that Waxahatchee has perfected.

Crutchfield formed Waxahatchee several years ago after the dissolution of P.S. Eliot, the band Crutchfield led with her twin sister, Allison (who has a recent Merge Records release of her own). The breakup coincided with the end of a relationship, and Out in the Storm finds Crutchfield again working through a split (“When I think about it I wanna punch the wall,” she sings on “Brass Beam”). While her knack for melody has matured, Crutchfield manages to retain an emotional immediacy and honesty in songs that range from acoustic ballads, synth experiments and kiss-off rockers.