Sharon Van Etten – Are We There

Sharon Van Etten broke through with her second album ‘Tramp’ a coarse collection of songs that had leaped on massively from her debut, and with a little help from her connected friends, made her someone to pay attention to. Now she is back with her most intimate record, written, recorded and produced by her own hand it is ultimately her vision of exactly what she wants to portray and exactly what she wants you to hear. ‘Are We There’ once again sees Etten gather her friends to form the band that will make her songs a reality, Dave Hartley and Adam Granduciel from The War On Drugs, Jonathan Meiberg (Shearwater), Jana Hunter (Lower Dens), Peter Broderick, Mackenzie Scott (Torres), Stuart Bogie, Jacob C Morris and Mickey Freeze all join her existing members Heather Woods Broderick, Doug Keith and Zeke Hutchins but they all play second fiddle to Etten herself. In the past, towards the start of her career, a lot of reviews remarked on how bad she sang listening to ‘Are We There’ it’s hard to believe those accusations ever existed, her vocal is the haunting glue that, along with the lyrics, gels this whole concept together, and it is a concept, from the start to the end it is the demise of a relationship and all that entails. In the opener ‘Afraid of Nothing’ Etten sings ‘I need you to be afraid of nothing’ it a plea and at this stage it hard to pinpoint where the relationship is but as the album glides towards the blurry eyed confessional of ‘Every Time the Sun Comes Up’ the listener garners much more of the facts. Just the titles alone are a massive clue ‘Your Love is Killing Me’, ‘I Love You But I’m Lost’, ‘You Know Me Well’, ‘Nothing Will Change’ it’s all there for you to dissect. Etten has been on a journey, some of us may have experienced others not so much, but that she has channelled it into some of the most raw, honest and truly cathartic music is nothing short of remarkable.

van etten

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