While this blog held a two week hiatus due to some well-deserved vacation time, one of my favorite songstresses of the last few years, Sharon Van Etten, released her astonishing new single “Taking Chances”. Staying true to its title, the track moves away from the garage rock instilled Tramp and its equally majestic predecessor Epic, towards an almost R&B itched sound.
So while her new label mate Angel Olsen on her new album moved in a direction slightly similar to Van Etten’s past ventures, it seems that we won’t hear much fleshy guitar rock on Are We There, Van Etten’s forthcoming record. By her own account, the new album will be “pretty soulful R&B” with a comparatively darker, moodier feel. And while “Taking Chances” definitely feels like a new direction, especially when considering the instrumentation that perhaps is more analogous to Cat Power’s latest albums or even Beach House than her past self, the chorus still carry a sizable portion of fuzzy guitars. But the biggest change on “Taking Chances” is undeniable the overall instrumental complexity and surprising layering, yet all this is overshadowed by Van Etten’s emotionally direct and melodiously well-balanced songwriting that feels as much a career-defining moment as “Serpents” did.
Are We There is out May 27 via Jagjaguwar.