Album Review of Tourist in This Town by Allison Crutchfield.
Release Date: Jan 27, 2017
Record label: Merge
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
When you lose your band and you lose your significant other, what do you do? Anyone who has asked themselves this should listen to Allison Crutchfield's solo debut, 2017's Tourist in This Town, where she demonstrates the difficulties and the necessity of picking up and moving on. Crutchfield was a member of the indie rock band Swearin' and romantically involved with guitarist and bandmate Kyle Gilbride; when things went sour between them, it wasn't long before the band fell apart. Personally and creatively, Tourist in This Town finds Crutchfield looking in the rearview mirror but decisively striking out for new territory.
Allison Crutchfield has played with her twin sister Katie in the Ackleys, P. S. Eliot and Bad Banana, and branched out from the family as a founding member of Swearin', but her solo full-length debut, Tourist in This Town, is by far her most profound and personal musical statement yet.
While Tourist In This Town is her first solo effort, Allison Crutchfield has already had quite the career. Aged 15, she started The Ackleys with her twin sister Katie before the pair formed cult grunge-pop group PS Eliot. After two critically acclaimed albums, the band separated and in 2011, Allison turned her attentions to Philadelphia outfit Swearin’.
Allison Crutchfield’s career has always been one that’s seen her as part of someone else’s story. An integral part, no doubt, but one where she hasn’t really had a chance to strike out on her own. From P.S. Eliot to Swearin’, as well as touring with her sister Katie’s band Waxahatchee, we were mostly being shown parts of Allison, not the whole picture.
Allison Crutchfield—Tourist in This Town (Merge)Photo by Jesse RigginsAllison Crutchfield’s Tourist in This Town could serve as a primer on the pitfalls of millennial love, especially when you travel a lot for work. It’s scraped-bare honesty is set against a synth-heavy, dance-evoking backing, but the gulp and swallow in Crutchfield’s voice sets artifice on notice – she really is mad, sad and vulnerable, even if she’s sipping champagne Sangria in Oporto or wandering Monmartre between shows. Crutchfield has wandered a long way from Swearin’ blustery, guitar-blistered swagger, employing a spidery palette of trebly synthesizers (that’s Jeff Ziegler who sometimes plays with Mary Lattimore), guitar (herself and Philly lo-fi-ist Sam Cook Parrott of Radiator Hospital), booming, rackety live drums from Joey Doubek of Pinkwash and vocal counterpoints from twin sister and Waxahatchee proprietor Katie Crutchfield.