Philadelphia’s Allison Crutchfield has been teasing her Merge Records debut for months now, and the wait is finally over. Tourist In This Town is out January 27th, but you can stream it in all its sun-drenched glory now via NPR. It’s a varied ten-song set, but if you already checked out “Dean’s Room” and “I Don’t Ever Wanna Leave California,” that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. While the record may try on a variety of indie rock and pop flavors, the personal storytelling at its core is what gives it its strength.
Crutchfield kicks off the album a cappella with the line “The lie we once saw in each other flickers and fades.” As a chorus of harmonized voices swoop in behind her, “Broad Daylight” reads almost like the overture of an opera, setting the tone for the mood and sonic pallet going forward. It’s followed by the aforementioned “I Don’t Ever Wanna Leave California” and standout acoustic ballad “Charlie.”
Tracks range from sparse and serene (like on “Sightseeing”) to brief and bombastic (like on “The Marriage”), but the songwriting and arrangements always feel thoughtful and specific. Crutchfield ends things on a high note with “Chopsticks on Pots and Pans,” which benefits from its shuffling groove and sentimental lyrics. Tourist In This Town may grapple with issues of indecision and self-worth, but Crutchfield has never sounded this confident.
If you want to catch Allison Crutchfield live, she’ll headline First Unitarian Church on Friday, February 10th. Tickets are still available, and you can find more information at XPN’s Concert Calendar.
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