Sharon Van Etten – Tramp [Album Review]

by Woody on February 3, 2012

I first came across Sharon Van Etten when she popped up on Megafaun’s take away show. Being a Megafaun fanatic, my interest was immediately piqued. Combine that with one of our favorite sites, Muzzle of Bees, showing her a steady stream of love; I knew I had to be missing something. So I got my hands on Epic and was enamored. As I spun Epic countless times, my anticipation for the follow-up grew exponentially.

From the first note of the lead single “Serpents,” I knew my wait was well worth it. Sharon has a unique and powerful voice and it can fit any setting – solo with an acoustic, rocking with a band or singing in front of some hipster orchestra like that Portland Cello Project. Her voice carries and resonates, piercing right into your soul.

Tramp was produced by Aaron Desner and features a who’s who of indie heroes – Bryce Dessner, Jenn Wasner, Zach Condon and Matt Barrick. Much like Epic, Van Etten is wearing her heart on her sleeve. For those who don’t know her backstory the New York Times did an excellent piece on Sharon, complete with a performance in a florist/speakeasy.

Much like Epic, Van Etten’s songs come from that rich and varied history. She pours herself into every note as if she is worried that we won’t empathize or understand if she didn’t squeeze every ounce of her being into the music. Confessional, rehabilitative, healing – call it what you will. Tramp packs a wallop and I almost feel guilty enjoying this album as much as I do with the tough times she had to endure.

I could sit here and break down songs individually, but we’d be here all day. Let me just say this – Tramp is genius at work. Van Etten has placed herself amongst the top female performers today. Whereas after Epic I was looking forward to the next album, a release like this makes me look forward to the next 10 years of her career.

Sharon Von Etten – Serpents

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Diva February 6, 2012 at 5:34 am

Will have to check out this album, sharon has a haunting voice! Thanks for bringing her to my attention

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