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CD Review: Sharon Van Etten

Tramp (Jagjaguwar)

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Sharon Van Etten boasts an elegant, powerful, and strangely ethereal voice that imbues her music with grandeur — practically demands a spotlight all its own. The music on her third album, Tramp, wanders from atmospheric chamber-folk that reimagines Laurel Canyon singer-songwriters for the post-Radiohead generation ("Joke or a Lie") to lush, harmony-enriched rustic ambles ("We Are Fine") to doleful, haunted, and slow-burn balladry ("In Line"). Much of Tramp consists of moody, well-crafted spectral pop-rock. As for the two songs up front: "Give Out" is a strummy, noirish ode to obsession, and "Serpents" features scabrous, droning peals of guitar that adorn a churning rocker as feral and visceral as PJ Harvey's best moments. It's a fine effort elevated to greatness by this pair of songs. — Chris Parker

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