It’s not like she carried her stuff around in a bindle, but Sharon Van Etten did do some couch surfing while recording her third album. Fortunately, the fluctuations of her life outside the studio only seemed to underpin her consistency inside it. Tramp is a masterful collection that broadens the gripping sound of Van Etten’s understated 2010 album Epic. Produced by the National’s Aaron Dessner, these songs are often bigger, with knots of electric guitar and a steady drumbeat on opener “Warsaw” and lilting accompaniment in 3/4 time framing breathy vocals on “Leonard.” There are more subdued songs, too—electric guitar meanders behind her singing on “I’m Wrong,” while “Kevin’s” is a meditative sigh. The capper is “All I Can,” a riveting showcase for Van Etten’s voice; she climbs from quietly sorrowful to huge and enveloping, joined along the way by drums, guitars and horns that fall in behind her and help push the song to a shattering climax. –ED

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