While Waxahatchee’s debut, American Weekend, is often described as “haunting” (for good reason), the artist’s sophomore release exudes a more pointed, aggressive sound. Waxahatchee is Katie Crutchfield, a singer/songwriter and Alabama native doing what should be impossible by now: giving new life to a well-worn musical genre. On Cerulean Salt, she swings from stabbing, grimy guitars on the first two tracks to a relaxed and almost sweet-seeming saunter featuring tambourines and acoustic guitar (“Lips and Limbs“). Then a thudding, spare bass and hollow snare paint a bleak picture on “Brother Bryan.” That song opens with the line “I said to you on the night we met, ‘I am not well,’” which tells you what to expect lyrically on this beguiling work. Crutchfield’s an honest, straightforward artist who emits the smart pop-flavored confidence of Liz Phair, the mystery of Cat Power, and the melodic playfulness of Pavement, though Waxahatchee’s sound is considerably simpler. Whether she’s slamming her electric guitar or strumming an acoustic, the emotional nakedness of Cerulean Salt is a beautiful thing.