You have to wonder if Joan Wasser, aka Joan As Police Woman (quite possibly the worst name for a performer or band in recent history), is tired of having the fact that she’s worked with the likes of Antony and the Johnsons and the current generation of Wainwrights brought up in every single review of her debut LP, Real Life.
Joan’s latest single, ‘Flushed Chest’, may not do much to drag her out of her contemporaries’ shadows, but it proves why so many critically acclaimed individuals continually choose to work with her. Structured around dub-inflected rhythms littered with repetitive piano riffs, a violin and saxophone, the song never reaches the soaring heights of her often cited peers, but her slightly weathered vocals create an atmosphere of soulful, weary depth that avoids the artistic death trap of being filed in the terminally bland folder alongside the Didos, Blunts and Jones of the easy-listening world. It’s a slow-grooving tune that could easily have found a home on the B-side of a vintage Nina Simone single.
Is it innovative stuff? No. But as an exercise in mature, restrained song writing that owes as much to Leonard Cohen as it does the soul and R&B greats, it’s certainly accomplished.
7Charles Ubaghs's Score