Sharon Van Etten: I Don't Want to Let You Down

Indie-rock star finds new highs on an EP full of pain and fire

Credit: Laura Crosta

Sharon Van Etten finds remarkable might in vulnerability, and her latest does what good EPs should: bushwhacks new paths. "Just Like Blood" pares imbalanced love down to the bone ("You set me off just like a gun/Then you run just like blood") with a string section suggesting unfinished business. The title track and "Pay My Debts" are unusually groove-driven near-pop. But the trumps are familiar folk-rock incandescence: "Tell Me" realizes a worthy demo from 2012's Tramp, and "I Always Fall Apart" sets scar tissue emoting over a piano. "It's not my fault," she announces, her need fully owned, "it's who I am."