Sharon Van Etten: Epic

Ba Da Bing

There are no conditionals when it comes to Sharon Van Etten, none of the damaged personality quirks that come along with the Will Oldhams, Bill Callahans and Chan Marshalls of the world. Although there's plenty of harsh insecurity brewing within her latest mini-album, Epic, the honesty and resilience in her voice underscores pure emotional reckoning that's not to be mistaken for weakness (see "A Crime," "Peace Sign" and the slow rollick of "Don't Do It"). Sparse guitar and drum arrangements serve the naturally uplifting swing in Van Etten's words. Part of her strength lies in delivering lyrics that beg the brain to connect the dots in her narratives. But really, the universe bestowed her with a powerful voice that embodies layers of mystery and allure all on its own. (4 out of 5 stars)