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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