Sharon Van Etten: Tramp (Jagjaguwar) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Sharon Van Etten



Feb 16, 2012 Sharon Van Etten Bookmark and Share

Sharon Van Etten’s last album, Epic, was a way forward for her, both musically and psychologically. That album featured her first stab at warm, bristling full-band arrangements and a heavy dose of emotional bloodletting following a rather traumatic break-up (one of the ex’s most egregious and repeated crimes was telling Van Etten she was a lousy songwriter/musician). Tramp ups the game on both frontsher songs have a newfound bravado, and her crushing heartache has become tempered with acceptance and understanding.

With the help of The National’s Aaron Dessner and a slew of friends (Beirut’s Zach Condon, The Walkmen’s Matt Barrick, Julianna Barwick, Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner, and the rest of Brooklyn), Tramp ends up sounding more like the work of a band and less a confessional singer/songwriter albumnot that there’s anything wrong with the latter. Van Etten’s newfound positivity shines radiantly on the album’s two best tracks“All I Can” and “We Are Fine.” Out of all the guests on Tramp, Condon’s cameo on “We Are Fine” takes the MVP. He and Van Etten harmonizing on the refrain “Say I’m all right/I’m all right” serves as the musical/emotional peak of the album. The feedback-drizzled crescendo on “I’m Wrong” works as a stunning conclusion to an album wrought with turbulent ups and downs. (

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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