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Sharon Van Etten: Tramp



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"You're the reason why I'll move to the city/Or why I'll need to leave," Sharon Van Etten sings on Tramp's gorgeous second track "Give Out." It's an example of the sort of incisive lyrical spark the songwriter is capable of flashing at times. An emerging force on the Brooklyn scene, Van Etten's third full-length features production from the National's Aaron Dessner and a guest list peppered with indie heavyweights (Dessner, Zach Condon of Beirut, and Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner, among others). Van Etten's contributors often threaten to overwhelm her own still-developing style ("Leonard" sounds more Beirut than Beirut, while "Serpents" could be an outtake from the National's High Violet), largely making Tramp seem in search of a foundation. Still, Van Etten's aching alto and her aforementioned capacity for sudden poetic depth lend the album a heaviness that lingers after many listens. With a steadier foothold, Van Etten will undoubtedly flourish. (3 out of 5 stars)


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