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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 25 January 2011
Joan Wasser has a fascinating, well-connected background. Protégée of Antony Hegarty and Rufus Wainwright, she has also been Jeff Buckley's significant other, as well as having collaborated with Lou Reed. To date, this has all stood her in very good stead.

Her sparse debut, Real Life, introduced her fractured confidence with aplomb. Its follow up, To Survive, was an understandably more mute offering that focused on her mother's death for inspiration. The Deep Field is noticeably less introspective. Wasser's choice of artwork confirms it, her fleshed out compositions too.

As a consequence, fewer of her trademark, melancholic piano ballads pepper the running order - "Forever And A Year" is a noteworthy, organ-filled exception from where the album's title comes. Yet, as Wasser's fragility was also often her strength, what then to make of The Deep Field?

Though the Joan As Police Woman sound of now appears to look backwards for reference, back to a time when "easy listening" wasn't a dirty classification, this third original outing is nevertheless an evolution for Wasser, a regaining of confidence as the groove-laden, crowd-splitting "Human Condition" potentially shows. What's certain is that the track is as unabashedly erotic as Wasser has ever been, soulfully playing off against slap bass, as well as her regular contributor Joseph Arthur and his best Mark Lanegan-style vocal impression.

Apparently then now back in love, we can forgive Wasser the occasional mistread. For, even if it doesn't all work for all listeners ("Nervous" seems little more than a synth-y, echoing amble), at least she's trying to break out from within her own brackets. For example, "Chemmie" and its 70s electric-funk/soul has grand, nearly-fulfilled allusions of Diana Ross collaborating with Stevie Wonder - something unexpected to say the least from Wasser.

Elsewhere, the funk on "The Magic" is likeably memorable, and "Flash" is an accomplised, eight-minute exercise in odd harmonies that allow the experimental vocoding in "Run For Love" to pass unnoticed in comparison.

Overall, The Deep Field is unquestionably smooth. Yet, it could be said that it's the skilful combination of its disparate elements that allow it to be so. Though benefit of the doubt permits the album to stay happily afloat, Wasser may have to pack a few more emotional punches to remain so in future.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I have followed Joan Wasser's musical career for some
five or six years now with both interest and admiration.
It was quite clear early on that she was not born to
play second fiddle to Rufus Wainwright (although the
first time I encountered her she was doing exactly that!)
She has grown in confidence and maturity as both writer
and performer and increasingly inhabits a distinctive
and self-determinate space in the listening world.
Ms Wasser's left-field vision, however, is forever likely
to keep her well away from the middle of the road and the
sequins, pearls and other trappings mainstream recognition.

Her third album is a fine piece of work. In the ten songs
comprising this new collection we find her looking away
from the suave interiority of her wonderful 2008 recording
'To Survive' and backwards over her shoulder to her first,
eponymously titled, EP. The sound is grittier and earthier
than we have come to know and utilises a rock-oriented ensemble
to beef up the full-bodied arrangements. That Ms Wasser comes
on like a pagan priestess in the cover photography seems
entirely correct. Part Earth Mother, part Boedicea she rules
the musical forces with which she has surrounded herself!

The majority of the compositions are very good indeed.
Opening track 'Nervous' is one of her most exciting ideas to date.
Ms Wasser's idiosyncratic mewling nasal drawl has rarely sounded
better. It is a song which twists and turns in a delightfully
unpredictable way. The guitars chug and howl, the Hammond warbles
and splutters and the drums pump and splat along merrily behind her.
The concluding jam is an absolute riot!

'The Magic' is a funky little number full of soulful spirit.
The vocal dances in and out of the beats as free as a bird.

'Flash' is a more subdued and reflective number. A nocturnal
piece with shadows hovering at the edge of a firelit clearing.
The mournful repeated incantation is a ghost, half-heard and
perhaps half-seen, at the limits of Ms Wasser's field of vision.
A hauntingly beautiful invention.

'Human Condition', however, is a deeply flawed arrangement.
What might have been one of the album's finest moments is
sadly marred by the song's title being gutterally intoned over
and over and over again by a supporting male vocalist with
a voice like the man from the 1970's Seiko watch adverts.

'Forever and A Year' pulls things back on track convincingly.
A tender and deeply affecting composition sung with understated
breathy gravitas by Ms Wasser at the top of her game. Sublime.

'The Deep Field' is a very strong album. I hope it wins its creator
lots of new friends. Joan As Police Woman is a rare confection.

(The packaging, on the other hand, is totally dreadful. Yet another
of those too-tight, flimsy cardboard sleeves which rip apart as soon as
you try to remove the contents! The photography, however, is stunning!!)

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on 26 March 2014
New to this artist and bought on a friends recommendation. Love it, especially Action Man! Now seeking out more JAAPW
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on 4 March 2014
Love her voice & music. I've bought this twice, kept one for myself & gave the other away as a present.
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on 28 October 2015
Everything is oke :-)
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 25 February 2011
The sound on this album is striking from the outset. The feeling is remarkable.
Using the sound space to create effects which compliment the songs is nothing new, nor is the use of environmental found sound material but the whole feels very dynamic.
Much the same reaction occurred listening to the songs, where nothing sounds directly innovative but which show the influence from across a broad spectrum of genre as few artists have either the knowledge or skill to bring off.
The Blues, Motown, Philadelphia Soul, experimental rock and much from the great mavericks of American modernism are incorporated into a rare, uniquely personal style which is reverentially applied to songs of great sensitivity and allure.
This is a truly great recording.
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on 25 November 2014
Gret record
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on 24 June 2015
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 1 April 2011
This CD might be slightly off the wall but is well worth a listen - shades of Ry Cooder mixed with .....? Fun!
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 January 2013
the first song is just irritating noise. Skip to the 2nd track, and the next time I touch the controls is at the end of the album. An extremely good album, a great find!
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Customers who viewed this item also viewed
The Classic
The Classic by Joan as Police Woman (Audio CD - 2014)

Real Life
Real Life by Joan as Police Woman (Audio CD - 2006)

To Survive
To Survive by Joan as Police Woman (Audio CD - 2008)

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