Track Review: Sharon Van Etten, 'Serpents'

80 Billboard Rating

SHARON VAN ETTEN
"Serpents" (3:03)
Producers: Aaron Brooking Dessner
Writers: Sharon van Etten
Publishers: Country Archers
Jagjaguwar

Featuring the well-oiled skills of The National's Aaron and Bryce Dessner, The Walkmen's Matt Barrick, Doveman's Thomas Bartlett and Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner, the newest single from Brooklyn folk sorceress Sharon Van Etten is jam-packed with cameos. Her upcoming third full-length, "Tramp," features the indie rock equivalent of the '92 Olympic Dream Team -- and with "Serpents," Van Etten has already recruited enough talent for a killer starting five. However, this noisy, venomous track would work just as well as a stripped-down acoustic strummer; the wide-screen feedback and six-screen smoke is fairly hypnotizing, but the crowded, awkward vocal harmonies suggest too many cooks in the kitchen. "Serpents in my mind," Van Etten chimes over a ragged guitar thrust, "You enjoy suckin' on dreams." It's a non-linear fever dream with an earth-rattling ruckus, but Van Etten, standing in the center of an apocalyptic tornado, sings the listener to sleep.

Return To Reviews Main Page

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print