Reviews in 200 Words

epic by Sharon Van Etten

In Album on December 2, 2010 at 6:26 pm

On stage, Sharon Van Etten is a vision of intensity – a small woman with a big guitar and a voice taking up residence everywhere in between. On record, there’s little lost in translation. Her voice is sometimes meager, sometimes ghostly, and always arresting. She sings about hurt and healing, somehow eschewing the tired trappings of singer/songwriters. Without quirky lyrics or meandering melodies, these songs modulate between abstraction and honesty.
“You said you need to do it, ‘cause you can’t feel it tonight – well you can if you want to,” she sings in “Don’t Do It.” “Wanna take you outside and show you the sky to remind you why you shouldn’t.”
We’re never really sure what it is Van Etten is cautioning against. But there’s never any question as to how she feels about it. Other times her uncomplicated tone sounds blasé, almost bored.
“Try and make me feel like I’m your number one,” she sings in “Save Yourself.” “Well shit, get real.”
It’s not all dour, though. By the end of an epic seven songs it’s clear Van Etten has come a long way. There’s hope, and we’re glad for her – and glad that she’s shared it.

-Jay Cullis

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