Thursday, May 29, 2008

Album Preview: Joan As Police Woman - To Survive

I made notes on my first couple of listen-throughs of Joan Wasser (aka Joan As Police Woman)'s sophomore album, To Survive. I have subsequently, erm, misplaced both lots of notes and, therefore I shall keep this one brief!
This follow-up to Wasser's 2006 debut Real Life will be released (in the UK) on June 9th and, as a most basic precis, I would get your pre-orders in now, as this is a good'un.

The album is imbued with all of the emotions surrounding the death of Joan's mother. It is mature and contemplative, and errs just on the right side of melancholy - all understated piano, lush strings (particularly on Magpies) and the odd well-timed horn section coalescing with the unusual phrasing we came to know and love on the previous release.
Holiday is possibly the most upbeat song here, and probably sounds the closest to Wasser's previous work, with To Survive reminding of a more sombre version of her earlier song Real Life. However, for me, the show stopper is To Be Lonely, a superbly composed song that ranks amongst my favourites so far this year. Despite the title and its reflective tone, the song remains ruminant and tenebrific (what an ace word...a new one on me, courtesy of and my need for a synonym of 'sombre'!) in exactly the right way. It is plaintive, full off emotion you can almost touch and emanates, if not defeat, resignation and, for want of a more capable way of putting it, acceptance of one's lot. Hard White Wall is another gorgeous song, and the one that follows it, Furious, is also rather smashing.
Closing song To America features the vocal contributions of Rufus Wainwright, for whom Joan has previously worked as a backing singer. In my opinion, with this album she has truly surpassed him.

mp3: To Be Lonely - Joan As Police Woman
Pre-order To Survive here (you can order it on vinyl too...yippee! I think I may even have to have it on vinyl myself!), or indeed at any reputable online music distributor ;o)

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