Monday, 24 March 2014

JOAN AS POLICE WOMAN - The Classic


Joan Wasser aka Joan As Police Woman is back with her fourth studio album, The Classic, set for publication on March 10th 2014. The Maine-born singer-songwriter began her career as a violinist for the Dambuilders, and has since released three albums as a solo artist: Real Life in 2006, To Survive in 2008 and most recently 2011’s The Deep Field. The Classic features the same soulful, multi-layered harmonies we expect from the star, yet its sound is instilled with a maturity and mellowness absent in her previous work.


The Classic may well be her best album yet.The title track of the album takes centre stage in this menagerie of jazz-infused tracks: ‘The Classic’ sings of bliss in ‘monumental love’, amidst doo wops, soft beats and of course Joan’s gorgeously rich vocals. The song sets the uplifting, soulful tone of the album and indeed showcases Joan’s numerous musical talents. Wasser’s previous work has been known to be notably downbeat; the singer suffered the accidental death of her musician boyfriend Jeff Buckley in 1997, and co-wrote a record entitled Debt and Departure with the band Those Bastard Souls as an attempt to come to terms with her bereavement. Again, in 2008, Joan’s solo LP To Survive was written in the aftermath of her mother’s death. This is not to say that The Classic lacks bluesy sentiments, yet it landscapes a warmth and fullness that fans have seldom heard before. The second track and first single release of Joan As Police Woman’s new LP, ‘Holy City’, has a distinct Motown-pop vibe with its brassy trumpet solos and Rufus Wainwright inspired glitz. Stimulated by a visit to Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall, Joan sings with such soul that her clear joy in the place shines through her vocals. To add to the excitement, an impressive scat-rap by Reggie Watts creeps in towards the end of the record, cementing the track’s sheer nonchalant brilliance.Despite Wasser’s heartening vocals, the album is subject to her tortuous moods. This is not to her detriment however; rather it adds a human note to the melodies. ‘Don’t wanna be nostalgic for something that never was’, sings Joan in her fourth track ‘Good Together’, an intimate portrait of love and loss. ‘New Years Day’ and ‘Stay’ also echo bluesy sentiments as the pumping beats relax and the meaty vocals linger. It is these songs which give the album that crucially grown-up, no holds barred feeling.Wasser has announced ‘I’m in the best place I’ve ever been in my life’, and The Classic certainly proves it.

Having performed and worked with the likes of Lou Reed, Sheryl Crow and Elton John, Joan As Police Woman has enough experience and influence to be at the top of her game. She cares not for fleeting mainstream crazes or ephemeral success; Joan is an artist interested in making timeless, heart-rending music. And of course, this is exactly what she does. Joan As Police Woman is touring the UK this Spring, and her new album The Classic is available from March 10th, 2014.

Words - Claudia Turnbull