Sharon Van Etten : Tramp
Tramp is the ‘difficult’ third album from Brooklyn-based singer Sharon Van Etten – luckily, she suits being difficult. It has been adorned with sensitive production by The National’s Aaron Brooking Dessner, and the closeness of their collaboration is bookmarked by the sleeve art of them sitting side by side.
Serpents is the scathing highlight. Coming off like a lost Throwing Muses classic, it’s a full-blooded, forceful catharsis compared to the more sedate majority of the album. But the slower, more intimate numbers in the downbeat haze that follows gradually dig their way into your subconsciousness. As the album progresses into its second half, the guest musicians become more prominent: Julianna Barwick’s ambient vocals waft in on both Kevin’s and I’m Wrong, while the distinctive voice of Beirut’s Zach Condon makes a more upfront appearance on consecutive tracks We Are Fine and Magic Chords.
The album title is a nod to Van Etten being without a home and drifting between couches during the recording process. She may have been a restless soul, but it isn’t reflected in the songs. Tramp is a solid set that boasts a fuller sound, a bigger range and greater conviction.
BY CHRIS GIRDLER
Best Track: Serpents
If You Like These, You’ll Like This: Civilian WYE OAK, Twin-hand Movement LOWER DENS
In A Word: Spellbinding