Katie Crutchfield or Waxahatchee as she’s more commonly known has always been a project of catharsis; her introversion spilling outward to captivate others. Throughout her records, whether they are solo-bedroom acoustic or fleshed out with bands, her narrative story telling has held it all together and we’ve seen into her life and her heartbreak. Her new six track EP Great Thunder is about as stripped back as it gets and with her southern drawl in plain view it harks back to her country roots.

Tonally it’s nothing new for Crutchfield who lives in this gloom. Though her honeyed vocals are more present than ever, the strain can be heard as she lingers on notes bearing the brunt of her emotion. Originally recorded around the time of Cerulean Salt and Ivy Tripp with experimental group Great Thunder these old tracks have been re-imagined and re-recorded. The production is bare, crackly and natural.

Simple piano melodies create a calming lull on both ‘Singer’s No Star’ and ‘You’re Welcome’ as Crutchfield laments past regrets in her typically poetic style. The layered vocals of ‘Slow You Down’ create a warm embrace in what is otherwise a bleak landscape. At less than two minutes the full chords are a short moment of relief as Crutchfield allows a moment of joy in: “I’ll slow you down with the sunset, I’ll slow you down, we’ll take it in.”

The soft vibrations in her voice as she repeats “Take it out on me, baby” on finale ‘Takes So Much’ clue you in to how much these songs still mean to Crutchfield; this sense of constant weight is what makes Waxahatchee so crucial. Lyrics like “Swimming in the garbage, the dirty and the fallen, and who am I to say, you left me with an ocean on this rotten day” are emo in the purest sense of the word and though this might sound country on the outside Waxahatchee is still the same emo kid from PS Eliot on the inside.

If you want to know you’re not alone in dealing with the strife, the shit, the ugliness of daily life then Great Thunder will resonate with you. While not as immediately apparent in its charm as say Cerulean Salt, it’s another fine addition to what is fast becoming a vital collection of music from one of the best songwriter’s around.