Because I Was in Love is Van Ettenâ€™s first entire-length, following a series of hand-made, tour-only EPs that she fashioned out of used paper bags and paint, and a limited edition EP released by Abaton Book Company. Some shared dates in early 2008 with Espersâ€™ Meg Baird brought her to the attention of Greg Weeks, and he brought her into his Hexham Head studio for this debut recording. But while Because I Was in Love is her first professionally recorded album, it retains an effortless normal quality, as if Van Etten had been caught singing to herself in a dusty, sunlit room. Barely there arrangements of picked guitar, doubled harmonies and counterpoints, a little organ now and again, frame these songs in the most minimal of ways, allowing listingeners to concentrate on limpid melodies. There is a caressing sort of silence under this recording, a living breathing room tone that fills in the spaces with soft, plush matting.
All 11 songs are originals, written in Van Ettenâ€™s deceptively straightforward flavor, with long sensual sustained notes and sudden flights of melody. Water pure folk melodies (â€śMuch More than Thatâ€ť) alternate with rougher, bluesier laments (â€śFor Youâ€ť), and bits of country, pop and English folk flit in and out of focus. Less is more here, with only the subtlest accents of guitar, percussion and keyboards. Although Van Etten works primarily alone, she builds fragile textures out of looped self-harmonies. A high, hair-raisingly croon of â€śoo-ooohâ€ť rises out of the soft chorus of â€śMuch More than Thatâ€ť; later the strong melodic line is smudged with charcoal shadings of delicate harmonies. And yet, though the tone is ethereal, the lyrics are grounded and real. Van Etten describes lovers feet touching in bed (â€śmy toe hit your toe lightly / your toe met my heel right back / and I donâ€™t think I need to have much more than thatâ€ť) with a specificity that conjures a whole narrative of trust and comfort with one another. Later, in â€śTornadoâ€ť, a slow-moving country ballad, she builds one of the recordsâ€™ best sustained metaphors, likening herself to the natural power of a twister, her lover to the strictures that try to keep her in check. â€śIâ€™m a tornado / you are the fences that will fall but still surround me,â€ť she sings, in a voice as traditional and melancholy as Patsy Clineâ€™s, but in lyrics that are 21st century empowered.
This is a wonderful album, quietly riveting, translucently pure, and infused with eccentric intelligence. Add Sharon Van Etten to the list of women who are often pegged as simply â€śbeautiful voicesâ€ť, but who are, in fact, much more than that.
|Date of Birth||12/May/1978|
|Place of Birth||Amsterdam, Netherlands.|