Joan As Police Woman

Joan As Police Woman

The Classic

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(Play It Again Sam)

Pitching her fourth studio album into the gap - admittedly a wide one - between Janelle Monae's Afro-futurist stomp and the introspective indie musings of Cat Power and St Vincent, Joan Wasser continues her trajectory from purveyor of maudlin, piano-based torch songs to purveyor of maudlin, funk and soul-inflected versions of the same. Crowded with horn stabs and soaring choruses, openers Witness and Holy City fly out of the traps propelled by Motown beats, while the title track winds the clock back even further and turns on the sort of doo-wop backing that wouldn't have disgraced an Ink Spots album. Clearly Wasser hasn't entirely brushed off those old bedfellows depression and uncertainty, however - Stay and New Year's Day are as bleak as anything on previous albums To Survive and The Deep Field - but when she croons "I'm tried of wearing the crown of thorns," on the funky Shame, you have to feel she means it. Think Dusty In Memphis, served up with a large side order of dark Brooklyn glamour.

Barry Didcock