One half of twin pop-punk wunderkind, Allison Crutchfield
(ex-the Ackleys, ex-P.S. Eliot, Swearin’
), steps out on her own with her solo EP Lean In To It
. Mostly written in New York City and recorded between Philly and Birmingham, Crutchfield’s latest is a lo-fi daydream wrought with the weight of disillusionment and longing.
Buzzing to a start, Lean In To It
’s first track, “SUPERMOON,” taps into the cosmic zeitgeist, while making the most of heartfelt lines and humming synth. Crutchfield’s vocals are as unabashed as her instrumentation - both lingering in the mind of listeners well after “SUPERMOON” has waned. “No One Talks” brings to mind The Blow and early post-punk ballads informed by a penchant for minimalism and fatigued emotions. Frenetic yet deliberate in diction, the song is a conversation conveyed via duet, a harmonized dialogue between probable lovers embodied by Crutchfield and Radiator Hospital
’s Sam Cook-Parrott. “No One Talks” ignites with a backbeat reminiscent of Colleen Green’s “Worship You.” The murmured pulse of the track ceases suddenly signaling the probable passing of a romance.
“Rose Knows” is charming without being coy. Crutchfield and Cook’s delivery shares the same pop-glazed frankness found in early tracks by The Brunettes (circa “You Beautiful Militant”). Short and sweet, “Rose Knows” is almost an interlude of its own fruition, followed by the equally brief, yet more somber, “CC.” Crutchfiled leaves listeners with the matter of fact repetition of “I know I’m not the one who’s on your mind/I know I’m not the one who’s on your mind” set to its bittersweet synth.
“Lupe” is a love song of lethargy and yearning, showcasing an often times overlooked aspect of relationships. The disenchanted Crutchfield sings, “I never needed it.” If anything, the track is a portrait of dissonant romance, while “You” possesses a caliber of critique and awareness evocative of early tracks by Jenny Lewis (think The Execution of All Things). “You” is unafraid and blatantly specific, possibly inspired by biography. Deeply personal yet still aware of the social parameters of its context, as Crutchfield states, “My generation is not stoic or serene” to a deliberately percussive and persistent backbeat. The song is self-aware, reflective, and self-assured. “I cannot be a part of your delusional pursuits,” it proclaims while the latter lines of the track recount the dilapidation of shared space, of crumbling architecture and experience, a possibly metaphorical mirror reflecting the decay of failing romance central to its melodic narrative. The record’s closing track, “Berlin,” furthers the lackluster relational landscape of “You,” like Best Coast’s lesser-known B-sides. The track is moody and audibly lush, a hauntingly accurate depiction of intimacy.
Lean In To It is direct yet layered with subtleties; its unapologetic yet forthright. Emotion is awash in sincerity, juxtaposed to memorably well-crafted hooks. Like watching Miranda July’s The Future after heavy drinking or listening to Power, Corruption & Lies on repeat, Lean In To It resonates with its audience in an undeniable and unshakable way without employing idealistic antics or cynicism. Crutchfield’s aesthetic and anthems are painfully earnest in the best of ways. - Dianca Potts