Remind Me Tomorrow is the first album in four years by Sharon Van Etten. Despite not making any solo albums in that time she’s been rather busy having a baby, gaining psychology qualifications, working with David Lynch and writing a score for the movie, Strange Weather. All this action has lead to her making a more upbeat album. Produced and arranged by John Congleton. LP or CD on Jagjaguwar.
Vinyl LP £18.99 JAG331LP
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First one in four years for Sharon Van Etten following a period where she did the usual between album stuff - had a baby, got a psychology degree, worked with David Lynch - that sort of thing.
For this new album she's been Congleton'd which set off a few warning bells as John Congleton's production is usually the opposite of what they say about a good football referee - you tend to notice he's there. Luckily generally he's keeping things subtle - not swarming Van Etten's voice in distortion is a good idea to start with though this is a much more modern and electronic record than her previous efforts. You know it's going to be one of those albums that the powers that be deign is her classic release and we all have to go along with it. It's certainly a strident and confident effort. 'Memorial Day' is yearning and swooning piece that sounds like the sort of music you'd think Lana Del Ray makes before you actually hear her. Quite gorgeous. 'Comeback Kid' is the opposite in that it is brash and immediate but it is no less impressive.
We often mock the hoards of musicians who make one or two guitar - led albums before moving into more electronic territories (usually with disastrous results) but although Van Etten's shift could have easily been predicted it's one that actually works. Her swooning vocals rise above the dark electronic textures in a way that recalls a more user friendly version of Zola Jesus and in particular her 'Stridulum 2' record. There's some slight Springsteen isms in 'Seventeen' which is possibly the first time the record hits predictable territories and Van Etten has to be careful not to streamline her sound too much. But generally the considered songwriting and edgy production touches keep this from a place which might isolate listeners of her older work.
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