July 2014 National Music Reviews

Review: Sharon Van Etten – Are We There

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Sharon Van Etten
Are We There
Jagjaguwar
Street: 05.27
Sharon Van Etten = The National + Okkervil River + Wye Oak
Sharon Van Etten is on the rise. Her last album, Tramp, saw her really come into her own as a songwriter, while gaining wider recognition touring with acts like The National. Are We There sees Van Etten expanding her sonic pallette to include more interesting sounds and ideas than the relatively straightforward songs found on Tramp. Notably, the inclusion of piano as the lead instrument on several of these tracks helps add an element of beauty that really complements the dark tremor in Van Etten’s voice. On the whole, this album is rather dark, and standout track “Your Love is Killing Me” finds her singing, “Burn my skin so I can’t feel you. Stab my eyes so I can’t see.” Sharon Van Etten is fully embracing the beauty we can find in pain, and she’s totally killing it in the process, so to speak. –Alex Gilvarry
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