Sharon Van Etten – I Don’t Want to Let You Down E.P Review

Sharon Van Etten’s new E.P. is a gentle reverie with a slightly dark edge. The Brooklyn-based singer songwriter has a knack for creating delicate tracks that perfectly match her serene vocals.

The layers of vocals on title track I Don’t Want To Let You Down softly ebb and flow to create a whimsical build-up of sounds and tones over the course of 4 minutes. Her soft, husky tones on Just Like Blood only just rise over the top of the piano riff, making it all the more impressive when her voice effortlessly soars during the chorus as she sings with resigned and weary frustration “You set me off, Just like a gun, And then you run, Just like blood.” Van Etten doesn’t try too hard with her vocals has no need to apply lots of power to her voice; the lyrics seem to drift readily from her and hang gently in the air, understated and soothing.

Upon the first listen to I Always Fall Apart, it seemed a slow, straightforward number that offered very little, but upon a close second listen it’s easy to begin to appreciate its simplicity. Van Etten manages to build up repetitive piano riffs slowly, drawing strings in at the end to create a light and airy lament. Next up is Pay My Debts which has a pleasingly ominous opening that immediately has you hooked. A pulsing bassline continues throughout the track along with subtle sharp chords to create a wonderfully uneasy and eerie atmosphere. The last track is a live recording and it seems that Van Etten has more punch to her live performance; her vocals have a lovely gravelly edge which transforms her voice into something a little more mature. Together, the 5 tracks make for a fantastic E.P; the biggest problem is that it simply isn’t long enough. Let’s hope we see a new album soon to enjoy more of the same.

Ellie Scott @elliemaryscott

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