CD Review: Sharon Van Etten


Sharon Van Etten
Epic
Ba Da Bing
By David Chiu

Epic, Brooklyn singer Sharon Van Etten’s second album, marks a step forward from her first record. While her excellent debut album, Because I Was in Love, was a very stark and intimate work with just her voice and guitar, Epic sounds more self-assured with additional instrumentation and the vocals being out there more. One can feel a bit of a sea change sonically and stylistically from Because to Epic through its seven tracks, such the tension-filled “Peace Sign” to the sweeping “Don’t Do It,” both with urgent-sounding percussion. There’s also a bit of a country vibe that can be found on the twangy yet reflective “Save Yourself” and the lovely and accessible “One Day.” But what hasn’t change is Van Etten’s soul-baring lyrics such as about relationships (the forceful “A Crime”) or introspection as on “Love More” with its hypnotic hum and VU-inspired feel in the background. Her eloquent singing has always been affecting as is the case on this Epic, but perhaps more so as well. The instrumentation only enhances Van Etten’s atmospheric and haunting music, giving it a shimmering glow.

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