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Sharon Van Etten

Are We There (Jagjaguwar)

Reviewed by Abby Johnston, Fri., July 18, 2014

Phases & Stages

Sharon Van Etten

Are We There (Jagjaguwar)

"People say I'm a one-hit wonder, but what happens when I have two?" That's the mic drop sealing Sharon Van Etten's Are We There. Found on closer "Every Time the Sun Comes Up," the line thumbs its nose at the music industry, but the magnitude of the Brooklynite's fourth album may force her to revisit that question. Working alongside the National's Aaron Dessner, 2012 stunner Tramp broke from the subtlety of her 2009 debut to sometimes dizzying effect. Self-production and guests like Loudon Wainwright III and the Roches scales back Are We There in all the right ways, letting the drama ooze from vocal performance above all else. Such focused restraint allows six-minute organ death march "Your Love Is Killing Me" to peak into crashing guitars while sharing space with frank, piano-driven ballads such as "I Know" and "I Love You but I'm Lost." Van Etten's got another hit on her hands.

***.5

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