It’s poignant to reflect on Sharon Van Etten’s quavering debut (It Was) Because I Was In Love. Like many flying singer-songwriter successes she sprang from the lo-fi, vulnerably assured minimalism of that record into the adroitly produced, assuredly vulnerable compositions which distinguished her cardiac-disintegrating pinnacle, 2014’s Are We There, which remains her most recent album. Because her lyrics and perspective are so achingly apt we feel that flash of vicarious pride in a stranger we relate to succeeding, and yet while a chasm of both time and orchestration separates her debut and most recent record, there’s no great technical discrepancy, no personality gulf.

While The National’s Aaron Dessner and Beirut’s Zach Gordon contributed some production flair to latter records, the shrugging humility of It Was didn’t need anything – save fleeting vocal harmonies and whispish tambourine – beyond the fundamental voice-guitar duopoly. Remastered, the fidelity crinkle is crisper but still jaded, an embroidery of Van Etten’s croon; which itself brandishes technical excellence reconciled to a covert Nashville-y growl that can cause earthquakes. Lyrically she straddles the rift between direct address and abstract imagery, somehow cultivating vivid and memorable thoughts alongside developed storylines and emotional touchstones; written down they pop off the page and nestle within your consciousness. The rote TL;DR is that from the advent of her career Van Etten has operated with balance, accessibility, and erudition, amicable yet complicated and enthralling.

Are We There is one of the finest folk-ish albums of this decade, but this timely reissue illustrates that Van Etten’s remarkable talent has always been omnipresent. Eight years on, her incoming anxious queries and lovelorn passages are as pertinent as they’ve ever been.