Album Review Sharon Van Etten - We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong

Very much the most mature Sharon Van Etten offering to date - and perhaps the most musically accomplished, too.

Sharon Van Etten - We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong

After spending much of the last couple of years looking back, having reissued her breakthrough ‘Epic’ last year for its tenth anniversary, Sharon Van Etten is now very much fixed firmly on the future. The records that followed; ‘Tramp’ in 2012 and 2014’s ‘Are We There’ established her further as one of the great modern indie rock songwriters and while ‘Remind Me Tomorrow’ in 2019 was a little bit of a diversion, focusing heavily on synths and electronics and a more brooding atmosphere, ‘We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong’ brings back guitars in a way that makes for sprawling soundscapes. Sharon declined to release any singles from the album prior to release, a rarity in an era of drip-feeding run-ups to albums, and even the cursory first few listens make it clear why; ‘We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong’ is clearly designed to be listened to of a piece, from the softly soaring opener ‘Darkness Fades’ to the lovelorn, acoustically-driven ‘Anything’ and the heart-rending minimalism of ‘Darkish’. Perhaps the standout moment acmes at the midpoint, in the form of ‘Born’, which builds slowly towards an epic, string-led conclusion. With a lyrical outlook that focuses on family and the uncertainty of the past two years (the affecting ‘Home to Me’, in particular, is written as a paean to her son), this is very much the most mature Sharon Van Etten offering to date - and perhaps the most musically accomplished, too.

 

Tags: Sharon Van Etten, Reviews, Album Reviews

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