On reflection, I think the first paragraph is a little too flowery, but judge for yourself.
Sharon Van Etten
Sharon Van Etten’s debut, Because I Was in Love, was a work of aching purity, just a little guitar and doubled vocals to underline the luminescence of Van Etten’s voice, the plain spoken lyrics transmuted to radiance by sheer loveliness. She sounded like a long-lost 1960s icon — fragile, haunted, and not quite grounded in the real world. Her follow-up, Epic, was a larger, denser, more empowered undertaking, opening up her self-lacerating songs with layered harmonies, a full rock band and a sense of wild, against-all-odds triumph. Epic was a gigantic leap forward for Van Etten, proof that she had exploded right out of the coffee shop genre, but it shorted the transfixing vulnerability, the shuddery, silvery delicacy of the singer’s debut. With Tramp, her third, she has brought both elements together in a record that will surely be among the year’s best, a gorgeous, fully realized expression of her potential.