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Joan As Police Woman - The Classic (Review)

Joan As Police Woman, The Classic

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

JOAN As Police Woman’s finest moment still remains (in our humble opinion) The Ride – a heart-melting single that established Joan Wasser as one of the most delightful indie-soul singers of the moment.

With her fourth album, The Classic, she almost abandons that approach completely in favour of the type of retro-soul sound that brought the likes of Amy Winehouse such success.

It’s perhaps ironic, then, that it’s during the more signature numbers that the album really is at its best. Stay, for instance, drops those sultry, dusky vocals over laidback beats and soulful organs to deliver a moody gem that just gets better the longer the track lasts.

While Get Direct similarly slows the pace and finds Wasser purring: “If you would be mine, we could be happy, so how about it?” The back-beats are perfectly realised, the organs are subtle and the vocals almost achingly fragile.

That’s not to say the remainder of the album isn’t good… rather familiar and nothing too special. Wasser can belt out a soul-pop number with relish but there are only a couple of moments that really force you to sit up and take notice in appreciation.

Title track The Classic, for instance, smartly combines doo-wop elements with soulful backing vocals and a playful sense of fun, while album opener Witness opens amid some smart, rolling drum beats and cute electronic hooks to underline the fact that this is going to be a more lively listen.

Good Together also has some nice beat arrangements and a classic sense of soul-pop, while there’s a brash feel to the lively What Would You Do that sweeps you along (albeit with darker lyrics that ask “what would you do if you saw me dying?”).

If by changing styles Wasser is able to secure her biggest commercial success, then you can’t blame her. But we kind of hope that she continues to mix her signature, breakthrough sound with the more commercial as she moves forward. There’s certainly a lot to like here but she needs to retain what made her special in the first place.

Download picks: Get Direct, Stay, The Classic, Witness, Ask Me

Track listing:

  1. Witness
  2. Holy City
  3. The Classic
  4. Good Together
  5. Get Direct
  6. What Would You Do
  7. New Year’s Day
  8. Shame
  9. Stay
  10. Ask Me