Artist: Sharon Van Etten
Record Label: Jagjaguwar
Brooklyn based indie folk artist Sharon Van Etten is due to release her third album entitled Tramp. Produced by The Nationals Aaron Dessner, and recorded in his studio over several months the album features guest appearances from The National members Aaron Dessner and Bryce Dessner, Matt Barrick of The Walkmen, Beiruts Zach Condon and Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak.
Since releasing her first album, Van Etten has really earned her indie credibility: she appeared in The Antlers album Hospice, where she performed vocals on the track “Thirteen”. She has also contributed backing vocals to The Nationals “Think You Can Wait” from the soundtrack to the film Win Win in 2011. And its apparent why, her voice in clear and arresting. Her voice commands attention whilst still wavering enough to appear vulnerable.
Emotions shine through in the fairly low key folk influenced songs in Tramp. Give Out is a top track, the chorus Youre the reason why Ill move to the city is catchy and melodic. Drum beats lead into Serpents a song about memories and dreams in which Van Etten sings serpents in my mind…everything changes in time, youll stay frozen in time…everything changes in time, I hope he changes this time.
Kevins is a full of calming smooth vocals and slow percussion and seems to be another reflection on relationships, as is Leonard – There he goes, he finally closed the door, I close the lock feeling more confused than before. The songs arent the usual sob stories, instead Van Etten seems to tell stories with strength and insight. This is what sets Van Etten apart from her contemporaries.
All I Can is an anthem for those who have loved and lost; she sings we all mistakes louder and louder before belting the memory of you, the love over due, to carry a face, I cannot re-trace. Another affirmative song follows We Are Fine includes the instantly recognizable vocals of Zach Condon (Beirut), they chime together were alright repeatedly, and you cant help but believe them. And following the various ups and downs portrayed in her songs, Tramp ends with Joke or a Lie a heart wrenching song in which Van Etten is at her most raw and exposed, simply beautiful.
Sharon Van Etten is due to tour North America beginning this February in Philadelphia and she will be playing Vancouver at The Biltmore Cabaret March 24th 2012.
Reviewed by Heather Welsh.