Indie Folk Haunted By Sharon Van Etten’s Lyrics And Harmonies, ‘Tramp’ Is A Mesmerizing Example Of The Genre
I discovered Sharon Van Etten on the radio only a couple of months ago, blown away by what I considered to be a haunting new rock voice with the presence of Stevie Nicks during the Fleetwood Mac days, though Etten’s is her own distinctive style indeed – her own contralto which leans towards folk. When discovering somebody so new and exciting for me, I like to glance at their entire album catalogue and split the difference as to what I will listen to first. In this way, I find that I can establish a baseline of style, because the debut stuff is going to be one end of the spectrum, and the recent stuff the other. Listening to studio album number three, Tramp, I was somewhat surprised that it didn’t feature much electronic elements at all, like the newer songs I had heard already, such as “Seventeen” and “No One’s Easy to Love.” Tramp is indie folk, with some alternative rock edge that gets raw and weird in some great places. Some of that great energy is courtesy of producer Aaron Dresner’s deft hand at the controls (he is from a really exceptional band called The National.) I suppose during the 2010s when Tramp came out (2012), I for that time period was anti indie folk because I could not properly differentiate between so many artists doing what I felt sounded like the same depressing acoustic coffeehouse music, and probably would have not listened deep enough to an album such as this one. My tastes have changed to include all types of music and musicians from the genre (just also discovered Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes) and it has been quite a revelation to hear that they do all have an individual enough sound. Stacked against such talents, Sharon Van Etten is up there with the best of them.