Port Angeles, Washington trio, Crushwater, tip their toes into the melancholic waters of country genre while fully immersing us into the hearty sea of folk rock with their latest EP The Cactus Storm. The first track, “INTRO,” feels like an introspective pause that the three invites us in before roaming through the bouncy country/folk soundscapes. The following track, “Blue Moon,” opens with minimalistic riffs where frontman/guitarist Scott Sullivan and singer/violinist Chandra Johnson dive into the insecurities of a relationship. “You never say that you love me / Or maybe sometimes you do” they chant. As the track builds up, the smooth violin additions give it a western vibe to it.
The strings-drums force is what drives the dynamic of the EP. “California” has the nostalgic air of country, but also exudes the same air of western/folk rock of its predecessor “Blue Moon.” It’s a track that longs for someone, but also plays with the Hollywood-esque idealization of California as being a better and warmer place. “They say everything is so bright in California” chant Sullivan and Johnson together.
The trio abandons the midtempo groove to jaunty riffs in “Fly Fly Fly,” where they go full-on country mode. Lyrically, the track is drenched with Spaghetti-West where the trio throws in imageries of desert flora and captures the nomadic spirit in the vast land.
“Starry Skies,” the final track is a Spanish treat to its listeners…or surprise bomb. “Por la carretera / Para mi amor” (“On the road / For my love”) chants Sullivan. Aside from Sullivan showcasing his Spanish ability, the song captures an inclusive western culture beyond the American one and also reminds us of the universality of longing/loneliness.
Crushwater formed back in 2016 when Chandra Johnson, Scott Sullivan and drummer Casey Northern decided to songsmith together, combining their background in classical music and folk music. Before Crushwater, Sullivan had already released four albums and has gained international acclaim for his songs and photography. A lot of his music has been featured on films and TV shows. The Cactus Storn was released on November 4th, 2017 independently.