Sharon Van Ettan – Tramp

It didn’t hit me at first, it took a few listens to really get under the skin of this record. It took time because I had to let the songs in, their fragility and the mastery all working together, the simple yet affective music mixed with the raw and personal lyrics. But once I succumbed to it this album wouldn’t leave me alone it kept demanding repeat listens asking me to go deeper. ‘Give Out’ with its wounded guitar lodged itself firmly in my head and brought to mind a kind of lo-fi Mazzy Star. ‘What’s with the eyes
in the back of the room?, The only ones shining, the only ones I’d met in years. It’s not because I always look down, it might be I always look out’ Etten sings in a Marianne Faithful Drawl. ‘Serpents’ bangs along at an ever increasing pace thanks to Matt Barrick (The Walkmen) on drums as does ‘All I Can’ with its lifting horns. Elsewhere songs like ‘Kevin’s’ shows Etten can do slow and haunting while ‘Leonard’ fills out the sound while Etten sings ‘I am Bad’ in a manner that suggests she may or may not be joking. With guests Zach Condon (Beirut), Julianna Barwick, Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak) and producer Aaron Dessner (The National) Etten here shines and has vastly improved from her previous two efforts despite being homeless for pretty much the whole fourteen months of recording. Perhaps its this that gives ‘Tramp’ its edge, the idea that it isn’t anchored to anything other than Ettens psyche which as this record proves is a beautiful and equally dark place.

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