Sharon Van Etten’s most recent full length album, Epic, is lovely for its lush sound and intimacy. It is a little lugubrious and hazy. The singer-songwriter’s most recent single, then, comes as bit of a surprise. “Serpent” has the same kinds of harmonies that have always made Van Etten distinctive but otherwise it sounds very little like her earlier work. Up-tempo with jangly electric guitars and an aggressive drum-beat, “Serpent” is just downright louder than anything on Epic, with a more focused sound. The Single’s B-Side, “McDermott” is also different, appealingly rough around the edges, with less reliance on the classic Van Etten harmonies. Van Etten is a compelling artist and, with the release of these two tracks, has proved her versatility.
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