I Don't Want To Let You Down
Sharon Van Etten’s most recent full-length album, Are We There, got perfect marks from me upon its release a year ago, and this new five-song EP is nearly as strong. The Brooklyn singer/songwriter’s songs are often worried outpourings of confessions, apologies and anxieties sung to lovers and friends. She’s hard on herself – sample song titles: I Always Fall Apart, I Don’t Want To Let You Down, Pay My Debts – and she translates those feelings into exquisite melodies, deeply exhaled and searching in tone.
Piano leads the way here, as it did on Are We There, giving a spacious guitar-free feel to the arrangements, which also feature whirring organs, soft string flourishes, a rock-solid backbeat. The low vocal harmony on Just Like Blood is incredibly effective, as is the forlorn repetition of the words in the title track. A live version of Tell Me, a song previously available only on the Tramp demos from 2012, is a nice bonus. These are slow, sad ballads brilliantly executed.
Top track: I Don’t Want To Let You Down