Sharon Van Etten's performance at this years Green Man Festival absolutely blew your reviewers world apart. Her albums have been devoured ever since. On reviewing this album after the first few listens it was clearly jammed packed with huge anthems and more languid heartbroken laments. Indeed not since "Blood on the Tracks" has a wrecked relationship been charted with such devastating force. It was the big tour de force "Your Love is Killing Me" which initially grabbed your attention and it remains a massive favourite not least when performed live it is a force of nature which explodes off the stage pushed forward by Van Etten's huge vocal. Yet it was the slow burn of the opener "Afraid of Nothing" which crept up on repeated listens. It is a brilliantly constructed track starting with a simple piano coda, a lightly chiming guitar and building to a crescendo of vocal emotion as the orchestral swirl takes off.
Sharon Van Etten skill for a gorgeous melody is on full display as is her superb lyricism not least the simple but pleading exhortation to a lover for courage and the consequent despair that "You throw me a lame "wait s*** out"/You're a little late/I need you/To be afraid of nothing". Van Etten's body of recorded work is turning into one of the the most impressive of any current American singer songwriter. Her 2012 album "Tramp" was one of the best of that year and 2014's "Are we there" is every bit its equal. She is fearless and honest as an artist and "Afraid of Nothing" aptly describes the big heart she pours into black vinyl.
Review by Red on Black