A most in­ti­mate re­turn

Sunday Star-Times - - Entertainment -

It might be a rel­a­tively short time in terms of an over­all ca­reer – and the year that’s just un­fold­ing – but Sharon van Et­ten has de­liv­ered one hell of a come­back.

Re­mind Me To­mor­row is the in­die mav­er­ick’s first al­bum in five years, af­ter she took time out to be­come a mum. How­ever, she’s kept her­self busy at the same time with her act­ing de­but on OA and a mu­si­cal score for Strange Weather and con­tri­bu­tions to the Twin Peaks re­vival.

What’s most no­tice­able, par­tic­u­larly on the stomp­ing an­them Come­back Kid, is the switch from a gui­tar-heavy sound to one that re­lies heav­ily on dark syn­the­siser col­lages, or­gan drones, and her beau­ti­ful gut­tural and ethe­real vo­cal.

The net is cast wide, with col­lab­o­ra­tors in­clud­ing Jamie Ste­wart (Xiu Xiu), Stella Moz­gawa (Warpaint), and Joey Waronker (REM, Atoms For Peace) and, de­spite the fuller and denser sound, it’s still van Et­ten at her most in­ti­mate.

Also on the come­back trail are Fun Lovin’ Crim­i­nals, who have strug­gled to main­tain a ca­reer tra­jec­tory off their ma­jor hit, the 1996 heav­ily Quentin Tarantino-ref­er­enced song Scooby Snacks.

An­other Mi­mosa, their first al­bum in seven years, is some­thing of a cu­rios­ity. As the ti­tle sug­gests, it’s the sec­ond in­stal­ment of Mi­mosa, their 1999 al­bum of cov­ers and re­worked orig­i­nals. This time, there’s just two re-in­ter­pre­ta­tions and nine cov­ers, rang­ing from Procul Harem’s A Whiter Shade Of Pale to the Bobby Wo­mack soul clas­sic, Day­light, fea­tur­ing onand-off-again Happy Mon­days vo­cal­ist Rowetta.

Fun? Cer­tainly, but fun you have at a karaoke club or bar.

The Le­mon­heads also re­turn – sort of – with a reprise of their last al­bum Varshons which, de­spite its com­mer­cial suc­cess, al­most seemed like a sign-off from enig­matic front­man Evan Dando.

Ten years on and Varshons II is caught in the fan-zone. Dando can rein­vent the likes of Paul Wester­berg, Lucinda Wil­liams, The Jay­hawks, and Yo La Tengo on the lilt­ingly ten­der Can’t For­get in his own emo­tion­ally achy way, but you have to won­der if this is all he has to of­fer af­ter all these years. Have The Le­mon­heads been fully squeezed?

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