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25 Reviews
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joan As Excellent Singer/Songwriter
This album is truly sublime. Joan Wasser has a beautiful voice which never sounds less than perfect. There are not a wide range of styles here, but Joan sticks to what she does best: soothing soul and magical melodies. My personal favourite is "I Defy", which contains singing from Anthony of Anthony and the Johnsons fame, a band Joan Wasser is part of.

But "The...
Published on 14 Jun. 2006 by Mrs. G. Reffold

versus
1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing special
I find the reviews here quite puzzling. I found this record to be very middle-of-the-road. Her voice lacks passion somehow and a lot of the songs are quite bland.
Published on 30 Nov. 2008 by James Twain


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5.0 out of 5 stars This is Real Life, 11 Jun. 2006
By 
This review is from: Real Life (Audio CD)
Listening to Joan As Police Woman is like listening to part of your soul that you left lying in a bottom drawer somewhere... Joan Wasser has worked extensively with the likes of Anthony And The Johnsons and Rufus Wainwright, and you are right to expect an intelligent and beautiful collection of songs that are as accessible as they are intricate. But it is perhaps the originality of the work that makes it so engaging.

Joan has been described as Debbie Harry singing Nina Simone and listening to tracks such as The Ride and Feed the Light you can see why: smooth and sensuous, Joan's jazzy vocals are dreamy and powerful at the same time, taking you to a special place. An eclectic record, there are rock influences too with the guitar riffs on Christobel echoing Led Zeppelin, and the persistent beat provided by drummer Ben Perowsky on Save Me will make you want to writhe and whine (as in your waist, not like a dog). Eternal Flame is one of the strongest songs on the album, I don't want to use the word "catchy" for such a great piece of work but oops I just did (yes, yes...) Check out the fierce piano progressions on Save Me together with the whispering, haunting vocals whilst you nod your head and bang your drum. Rainy Orteka's basslines and backing vocals complement the songs perfectly and a special treat comes in the form of "I Defy", a gorgeous duet with Anthony - "now I'm loving you" - and you're going to!

In addition to this musical feast described as Punk-Rock R&B, Joan's lyrics will undoubtedly have something to communicate to anyone blessed enough to hear them. Pain and pleasure, who we are - and who we are not - questions posed and some even answered: "don't you feel for us/that we're on the round and round?/don't you hear the endless motor sound?/as long as you follow me this is what i do/like i do/i've been on the ride before/it never stops at all"

This lady ain't the Messiah (correct me if I'm wrong) but she has something to share. The point is: this really is real life. (At least the last time I checked).

If you like great music, great lyrics, originality, depth and beauty - buy this album!
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5.0 out of 5 stars New York-based chanteuse shows them how it's done, 11 Jun. 2006
This review is from: Real Life (Audio CD)
Having spent much of the 90s in acclaimed underground acts such as the Dambuilders and Black Beetle, Joan Wasser has more recently helped woo audiences on both sides of the Atlantic as an integral member of both Antony and the Johnsons and the Rufus Wainwright band. It is however, here with her own band that she has unlocked the door to centre stage. Pitched against the breezy thrum of a guitar and atmospheric harmonies,the pulsating rhythm of 'Eternal flame' lies in her twitchy vocal deflections that ricochet in and around a wall of shimmering riffs. The broadened harmony backing and piano of 'Christobel' add an element of wondrous mystique, but it's in the harnessing of some violin distortion towards the end in which the band manage to saddle the electricity of their live performance. 'Save me' shares a similar verve. Though it shifts to a lower gear,it's heavy bass rhythm and accentuated drum punches are teasingly balanced against the seductive draw of Joan's playful piano-versed allure. It's by far the record's sexiest moment, soaked in PJ Harvey sass and breathlessly hushed vocal responses.

The collaborative magic of Real Life is demonstrated most spectacularly on the show stopping duet with Antony. Here the two cleverly cast her moderately-paced piano prowess against the soulful quiver of his chamber balladry. Its a passionate affair, full of steady beats and a smouldering soulful interplay between the pair that transcends more than just chemistry, verging on pure audio gold. All sax and sidewalks, 'I defy' emulates the deeper vintage aesthetic that beats just below the surface of this album. Should any hesitation linger by track five - 'The Ride' relinquishes any such doubt. As a warm wurlitzer-spun melody picks up her voice, the spark is instantaneous : at no other point does Wasser land a hit as sweet as this, a soul-laden delight of dreamy restraint that clips the cool and classic refinery of Nina Simone in 3 minutes of pure mellow ecstasy.

This is an astonishingly accomplished debut with a vivacious and seductive edge.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars stunning debut full length, 14 Jun. 2006
This review is from: Real Life (Audio CD)
shimmering soulful excellence... the self titled e.p. set the tone, now the full scale of joan's songwriting genius can be consumed by all on the j.a.p.w debut full-length. having witnessed these songs live it's great to now be able to go back to them whenever the feeling arises, and believe me, it will...
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves to be huge !, 20 July 2006
By 
S. Dinsdale (Leeds, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Real Life (Audio CD)
It's astounding just how talented the current NYC mafia is ! The latest to emerge fully formed from the shadows is Joan Wasser who appears here with her debut full length album

(her earlier EP is also a stunner).

The opening track immediately establishes the sheer quality and beauty on offer here. A voice to die for ! Throughout a varied selection of ten songs, she takes us on many unpredictable melodic twists and turns, all of which are impeccably played, sung, and recorded.

Although she has sung and played with Rufus and Antony's bands, this is purely her own creation, although Antony does guest wonderfully on one track.

This is one of those albums that you just want to play again and again, as one by one these little gems reveal themselves. It repays multiple listens with a depth and melodic sense which is all too rare in music these days.

Catch her live if you can while she's in the UK. I saw her in Leeds and she was absolutely stunning.

Coldplay fans need not apply.
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5.0 out of 5 stars For those who love, are loved, or long to be loved., 11 Jun. 2006
This review is from: Real Life (Audio CD)
It's true what they say about Joan, every bit of it. This album is a future classic without any shadow of a doubt and I am sure will touch many a soul right to their very core. If you haven't heard the first single 'the ride' yet then sadly you aren't aware you have been missing out what may be your record of the year. Walking around with this album on my headphones in the current heatwave has been a dangerous experience as I have often felt the need to burst out crying or grab the person next to me and tell them to get out there and start living their life before it's over.

Comparisions to the Tunstall's and Bailey Rae's of this world are easy to be made, but I don't think either of those albums cover the sheer scope and depth of songwriting here. These songs feel like they have been lived in and are full of lovely nuances and small moments that can't be faked.

If I have got you interested then get over to her website, there's a free track to be had there that hopefully will wet your pants, sorry, appetite.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Arc of Joan, 3 Dec. 2012
By 
GlynLuke (York UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Real Life (Audio CD)
Having seen the striking Joan Wasser on a TV tribute to Sandy Denny, I immediately realised what I might have been missing and so ordered a trio of her albums. So far this is my favourite.
The opening title track is a captivating song, with a gorgeous melody sung with a huskily hypnotic intensity by Joan at her most imtimate. It`s unforgettable when she sings the line:

Be reckless with me

The rest of this excellent grower of a record is inventive, beautifully recorded and filled with songs of varying degrees of inspiration - I`m waiting for Joan to record that perfect album.
Anthony Hegarty sings to good effect on the superb I Defy, with a euphoric piano riff towards the end. The following Flushed Chest is cheekily spooky, and goes down a treat.
She`s backed throughout by a sympathetic band, and the whole thing has a haunting feel to it that, to some extent, shows Joan as the original talent she undoubtedly is.
On the other albums I`ve heard by this very likeable woman, there`s something missing, drowned in too much production and massed synths. I like to hear a more stripped down sound from her, that allows her songs room to breathe, much as she showed on that Sandy Denny tribute, which had her at her piano backed only by a small folk band. This superb album comes close to that ideal.
I admire the striking, beguilingly raunchy Joan a lot, and this is well worth listening to and living with, one of her best albums. I like it the more I listen to it...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazon recommended, frequently; I recommend, cautiously, 17 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: Real Life (Audio CD)
I'm another who, having had Amazon push this at me frequently, moved from 'who the...?' to giving in and ordering it. The power of personalized marketing must have some strengths, surely? Well, yes and no.

This album has some beautiful songs, wonderfully played by a talented group of musicians, sung with soul and passion, lovingly captured, professionally mixed. But - and you knew there'd be a but, and this is where my cautious recommendation comes from - it's very much of a late-night jazz/soul feel; the sort of thing you'd play at the end of an evening with the lights down low. Rip this to iTunes and it categorizes it as 'Indie Rock', and for the most part that couldn't be more wrong; only the more up-tempo 'Christobel' approaches that description and even that doesn't get there really. The rest slips past with the mature sophistication of old wine.

So, splendid smooth late night grown-up jazz/soul that comes very highly recommended to those who like that sort of stuff. I don't, particularly, but that doesn't stop me recognizing that this is an exquisite album of its type. Four stars, and that might be being a little mean.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!!!, 16 Jun. 2006
By 
Toby Staunton "dancing mole" (Derbyshire, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Real Life (Audio CD)
I think that word is infact an understatment. Joan Wasser is a talent beyond most other modern singer/song writers. She has honed her skills to create an amazingly unique sound comprising energetic art pop and classical string sections. A remarkable talent at also creating soft and heart renching moods on songs such as 'I Defy' featuring Antony Hegarty (Antony and the Johnsons, on which Joan and Antony's voices combine so perfectly to create a heart renching sound.

If you are considering whether getting this album is a good idea, then you need to look no further than some of the rave reviews that she has received across the UK press, including multiple album and single of the weeks. Joan is simply a brilliantly talented individual who effortlessly wraps her listener in a multi layered cacoon of music that somehow you thought could not logically exist in this form. Yet her it is.

So if you are bored of all the chart singer/song writers or you just want something different and unique to listen to then this is a must have.
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5.0 out of 5 stars grown up fun, 4 Nov. 2007
By 
J. Briggs "Jules" (Newcastle, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Real Life (Audio CD)
Having come across JOPW's music through a friend, I was expecting something fairly decent. I was thrilled by what I found. It's grown up music with a definite edge which leaves you wanting more. The lyrics are emotive and the music that accompanies them burrows into you and leads you in a direction you weren't expecting. She is also a charismatic woman who performs well live. Don't pass her by!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!!!, 11 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Real Life (Audio CD)
This is such a beautiful album it has hardly been out of the cd player since it arrived. I bought it after Jamie Cullum recommended it on his radio program and have not been disappointed! Beautiful melodies, melancholic lyrics and true musical craftmanship. I hope all of Joan's albums are this good!
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