- Ships in Certified Frustration-Free Packaging
|2. Give Out|
|6. In Line|
|7. All I Can|
|8. We Are Fine|
|9. Magic Chords|
|11. I'm Wrong|
|12. Joke Or a Lie|
The opening Warsaw clatters out of the speakers, jagged electric guitars and drums courtesy of The Walkmen’s Matt Barrick forming the backdrop upon which Van Etten’s wounded vocals roam, setting the template for a fragmentary record that revels in a dark, sometimes sinister aesthetic. That she was essentially without a home over its recording process is evident over its 12 songs: they blur into each other at first, hallucinatory and shapeless, further listening revealing moments of standalone fury and beauty of the kind that has always been present in her work.
The oppressive nature of its initial salvo – Serpents, in particular, is seething, recriminatory, vicious – eventually gives way to the serene lilt of ukulele-led single Leonard, the first real glimpse of light on the record. Van Etten is nevertheless characteristically frank as she sketches her own culpability in the demise of a relationship, and storm clouds quickly re-gather in the shape of the subsequent In Line, all moody, swelling backing vocals and defiantly slow pace.
Yet over its back-end Tramp begins to open up with greater frequency – a good look for Van Etten. A fleet of guests including Beirut’s Zach Condon, Wye Oak’s Jenn Wasner and Julianna Barwick all make appearances, while on the lovely Ask she offers the lyric "Let’s find something that can last / Like cigarette ash the world is collapsing around me / Let’s try to do the best we can." On an album fraught with insecurity and angst, moments like these feel like hard-won triumphs that were more than worth fighting for.
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