Mike Atkinson

Joan as Police Woman – Real Life

Posted in album reviews, Stylus by Mike A on December 20, 2006

It starts with an unambiguous declaration of love (“we’re real life”), building up to an arresting “reveal”: the real life name of the lover himself. Thereafter, the experience of love is explored from varying angles: from the slow-burning exultance of “I Defy” (a duet with Antony Hegarty, whose multi-tracked entreaties bring the song to climax), to the mournful sorrow of “Save Me” and the almost post-coital stillness and resolve of “Flushed Chest” and “Anyone.” The dominant mood is one of resolved reflection, tenderly expressed, and only punctured by the remembered adolescent yearnings and Banshees/Cure goth-pop stylings of “Christobel,” the sole up-tempo interlude. Joan Wasser’s voice is soft and strong, velvety and honeyed, coaxing and caressing, uncommonly intimate and quietly compelling.

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CSS – Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death From Above

Posted in singles reviews, Stylus by Mike A on December 20, 2006

Yes, but which Death From Above: the Canadian indie duo with a fondness for elephant trunks, or the NYC dance-punk label which forced them to append “1979” to their name? The track’s friskily loping Le Tigre/Tom Tom Club groove strongly evokes the latter, whilst the swaggering rock and roll lurch of its two short instrumental interludes suggests the former—particularly when you clock the accompanying visual references on the video. Since DFA 1979 split up shortly after the single’s release, all we can do is savor the irony as we carelessly disco-dance upon their graves, turning a breezily irreverent tribute into a cruelly pointed epitaph as we do so.