Gig review: Waxahatchee and Allison Crutchfield & The Kizz, Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Waxahatchee
Waxahatchee
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Sisters really are doing it for themselves.

Identical twins Katie and Allison Crutchfield not only share a musical language, they also share a tour bus, band members, a stage and the honour of being the first acts to perform in the Brudenell’s new Community Room.

Allison Crutchfield

Allison Crutchfield

With their penchant for concise folk-punk songs and a deadpan timbre, their dual confessions see them addressing one another in lyric form. “Kate and I…” starts Allison early in her set with The Fizz. “I see myself through my sister’s eyes,” observes Katie later with Waxahatchee.

Such is the similarity of their sound that it would be possible to play them simultaneously – one in each speaker channel – and the tracks would harmonise.

Yet it’s more than just a fluke that it’s Katie who’s headlining, her besuited band comprised of members of The Fizz. It may be splitting hairs but Allison retains more remnant traces of lo-fi punk on ‘Expatriate’, with Ashley Arnwine’s drumming in particular being post-hardcore, while also being more indebted to 80s synth pop.

In turn, Katie’s voice is fractionally more emotional and crucially her writing is more varied.

The mainstay of her set is the bubblegum, folk inflected grunge of ‘Hear You’ and ‘No Question’. Unlike her sister’s work there’s a greater grasp of dynamics, both within a song (the loud-quiet set closer ‘La Loose’; the semi-acoustic ‘Fade’) and across the breadth of her set (the mid-section taking the pace down a notch).

These differences are just enough to give Waxahatchee the edge although, with Allison’s writing coming on in leaps and bounds, don’t be surprised if it’s The Fizz who are headlining next time they’re on tour.