For the bulk of her career, Joan Wasser – AKA Joan As Police Woman – has been cool by association. Whether it’s been her work with Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus Wainwright or even The Dambuilders back in the day, people seem to really love working with Wasser. It’s not hard to see why – she’s an efficient player and a wonderful singer with a dynamic range.
When it comes to her solo work, however, the friendship begins to stretch a little bit. Across four albums, the material has ranged from momentary lapses into pure bliss to cringe-inducing syrup. It’s no different on her fifth album, her first in three years. The more things change in the world around her, the more things stay the same for her blend of indie rock, light jazz and chamber pop.
It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where The Classic goes off the mark – some tracks have lush, layered arrangements but are let down by hollow lyrics, while other songs paint beautiful imagery with their words but are marred by a beige musical backdrop.
There are some nice enough moments on here – including a sweet cameo from Comedy Bang! Bang! star Reggie Watts – but the forgettable far outweighs the memorable.
2.5/ 5 stars
The Classic out now on [PIAS]