Joan As Police Woman – 'The Classic' album review

The leftfield singer-songwriter makes a winning turn into the mainstream

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Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5


Over the course of her last three LPs, Connecticut-born indie heroine Joan Wasser has had the air of a songstress in conflict. The classically trained violinist and singer – who has also worked with Antony ‘and the Johnsons’ Hegarty and Rufus Wainwright – has a certain pedigree in wistful, melancholic alt folk, chamber-pop and earthy soul. But, on record, her sombre tunes seemed to careen towards the middle of the adult-contemporary road.

Her latest, ‘The Classic’, manages to resolve this tension by letting her not-so-hidden musical desires run wild. She offers up a joyous, unabashed ragbag of mum-friendly sounds and styles. The title track is a sugary doo-wop swoon about a new fella blowing away the cobwebs of a troubled past, while ‘The Witness’ and ‘Shame’ are sassy big-band rhythm and blues tunes that could be offcuts from a Duffy LP. Throughout, Wasser’s haunting ‘I’ve seen things’ vocals rise like curls of smoke through the mix – belting out bittersweet lyrics that never descend into easy cliché.

Combined with more sombre moments, like yearning ballad ‘Get Direct’, the whole package sounds like Joss Stone – had she endured a slightly harder life and made slightly cooler friends. Beguiling yet pleasantly accessible, this is more (or MOR) than just a guilty pleasure.


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