Sharon Van Etten – “Are We There”

Are We There

Sharon Van Etten

Jagjaguwar, 2014

 

Sharon Van Etten’s latest solo album retains elements of her previous work: the immediacy of her lyrics and her songs’ beautiful musical atmospheres. As on Tramp, one continues to hear Van Etten’s vocal range expand – by now able to encompass keening soprano lines as well as a growling contralto a la Stevie Nicks. Some of the best moments on Are We There combine both vocal approaches, as on the multi-layered “Taking My Chances.” Her more confessional and emotionally stark selections, such as “Your Love is Killing Me” are compelling as well; here we are relieved by a swelling build to the chorus that offsets that stark ambiance of the verse. One is most impressed with the range of material on display here. So often, singer-songwriter albums can get stuck in a particular vibe or groove that leaves them monochromatic. Not so with Are We There: Van Etten has crafted her most varied, and most compelling, album to date. Recommended.

 

Author: christiancarey

Composer Christian Carey's music has been performed by ACME, Ashlee Mack, Aspen New Music Ensemble, Atlantic Chamber Orchestra, Cassatt String Quartet, Choir of Grace Church Newark, Ionisation New Music Ensemble, Jody Redhage, Joe Arndt, John McMurtery, Locrian Chamber Players, loadbang, Megan Ihnen, New York New Music Ensemble, Wendy Richman, and others.

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