Indie-rock/indie-folk singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten parades not only her deliciously nuanced voice on her new album, We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong, but also her superb songwriting craft. Van Etten has a gift for narrating personal stories, stories that mirror those of listeners.
This mystifying gift has evolved over time, from her 2009 debut, Because I Was in Love, to 2019’s Remind Me Tomorrow, which admittedly, was a bit blurred. Yet on We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong, her exceptional gift is more manifest than ever.
Her voice, oh that luscious, evocative voice, along with radiant harmonies, full-spectrum melodies, and captivating rhythms, is front and center of her alluring music.
Encompassing 10-tracks, entry points on We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong include the low-slung, exquisite flow of “Darkness Fades,” which begins on gentle washes of color and then ramps up to an immersive tune rife with rumbling drums, a rolling bassline, and Van Etten’s bravura vocals.
“I’ll Try” rides a shake and bake-like rhythm, followed by ascending to dark, heavy layers of coloration as luminous accents add platinum savors. Van Etten’s voice, ethereal and potent, infuses the lyrics with dreamy textures.
“Anything” travels on gleaming acoustic guitars topped by Van Etten’s scrumptious voice. When the rhythm kicks in, the tune takes on a thrumming, mysterious quality, at once exotic and brimming with mighty dynamics. Harmonies enter, expanding the sonic dimension to full resonance.
Thick with shadowy hues, the mid-tempo rhythm of “Headspace” provides a brawny matrix for Van Etten’s passionate timbres, simultaneously intense and otherworldly. August and elegant, “Come Back” reveals Van Etten singing with almost reckless energy.
“Mistakes” rolls out on indie-rock flavors with Van Etten’s vocals giving the lyrics low, sensual tangs. Whereas the final track, “Far Away,” travels on folk-rock rinses of misty hues, drifting on undulating currents, while Van Etten’s crème de la crème voice imbues the lyrics with yearning nostalgic tones.
Ranging from elysian songs to grumbling alt-rock numbers, surging with dark forces, We’ve Been Going About This All Wrong delivers an incredibly impressive listening experience.