Allison Crutchfield’s Sonic Makeover

The singer swaps scruffy garage rock for an electronic sound on her new album “Tourist in This Town.”

Allison Crutchfield
Tourist in This Town

Courtesy of Merge

Like Speedy Ortiz leader Sadie Dupuis, who recently swapped guitars for synths on her solo album debut, Allison Crutchfield gives herself a sonic makeover on Tourist in This Town, the excellent first longplayer under her own name. Trading the scruffy garage rock of her work in P.S. Eliot and Swearin’ for shiny analog electronics hasn’t dulled her edge one iota, however. Crutchfield’s songs are memorably pithy vignettes of failed or wobbly relationships that marry her engagingly raspy voice to dramatic melodies guaranteed to stick in the brain. Best of all, she deftly captures difficult situations with a few well-turned lyrics, exclaiming, “You ask for forgiveness/All while maintaining your innocence,” in “Dean’s Room,” and declaring, “You assume you understand because your voice is the loudest,” on “Mile Away.” Tourist creates the thrilling, albeit uneasy, sensation of leafing through a stranger’s diary, and you can dance to it, too.