Joan As Police Woman: The Deep Field (Liberator)

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Joan As Police Woman: Flash
Joan As Police Woman: The Deep Field (Liberator)

After two excellent albums, notably her previous and admittedly dark To Survive in 2008, Joan Wasser has more fully immersed herself in slow and slightly funky soul music with reference points in classic Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder's more introspective 70s songs.

And she's pulled it together here with references to that art music of Antony and the Johnsons with whom she once sang. So here are funk-pop and string parts, but also the airy eight minutes of Flash which rouses itself slowly with a Lucinda Williams-like languor to ride off-beat percussion.

However this one never quite finds its mood or pace and tracks alternate between the terrific and the uh-huh.

The opener is the lightweight Nervous driven by minimal chords and embellished by sonic burps and squeaks which can't cover its thinness, and aside from the soulful Action Man and that lovely Flash, it isn't until the limber soul-funk of Human Condition (longtime collaborator Joseph Arthur bringing the Barry White baritone) and the wine-light ballad Forever And A Year later that we hear the best Wasser is capable of.

The final track I Was Everybody should soar but ultimately plods this uneven album to a close in a coda of faux-soul vocals and kitchen-sink'n'all electronics, guitars and whooshing – which means The Deep Field ends leaving the same impression as when it started.  

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