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Joan As Police Woman - To Survive
music as the spark to survive
Review by Tony BonyataThe credo on her website may state that "Beauty is the new punk rock," but the music that fills out Joan As Police Woman's (aka Joan Wasser) second full-length effort To Survive is a far cry from anything even considerably close to punk. If there is any truth to this statement, however, then Wasser's new album may indeed be held together with safety pins, saliva and a DIY ethos, because it's a truly beautiful and emotionally charged collection of songs.
The bittersweetness of many of these compositions are a reflection of the passing of the classically trained violinist's mother last year (who succumbed to cancer). The guitars are buried within the mix to put more of an emphasis on Wasser's sumptuous, sultry vocals and melancholic, haunting piano melodies, as witnessed on the aching balladry of the title track, where the singer-songwriter deals with her loneliness and despair as she sings," I've never felt alone like I do now, this moment. I don't belong here at all, must find the spark to survive."
It's apparent through many of these deeply intense and moving compositions that she's not only found the spark to continue, but that it's turned into a fiery passion, as witnessed on "To Be Loved," with its more uplifting melody and sense of love and contentment. "Holiday," with its breezy, more positive vibe, also taps into the power of new love, as she coos "little did I know you're my holiday - the place where I escape to forget about how I don't see you enough."
While the Connecticut-raised musician and current Brooklyn resident admits to loving NYC, she doesn't feel the same for all of the USA. She recently performed under her JAPW stage moniker for a benefit concert endorsing presidential candidate Barack Obama, and some her misgivings about the current state of the nation and the war can be felt on the numbers "Furious" and "To America," the latter which also features the beautiful vocal pairing of Wasser with Rufus Wainwright (who, along with a wealth of other well-known talents such as Lou Reed, Sheryl Crow, Elton John, Joseph Arthur, Antony & The Johnsons and The Scissor Sisters, she's recorded and performed with in the past).
Heartfelt, powerful, beautifully soulful and often bittersweet, Wasser (as Joan As Police Women) has created a stark and lasting effort with To Survive.
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