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'Damned Devotion'   

-  Label: 'Play It Again Sam'
-  Genre: 'Soul' -  Release Date: '9th February 2018'

Our Rating:
Joan Wasser doesn't believe in staying in her comfort zone. Her maxim is "if it feels scary to say it, it’s the thing you must say”. This doesn't necessarily mean that her songs are chock full of confessional lyrics but it does signify that she sets great store by the principle of truth telling.

"I can't trust myself to lie" she admits semi-tragically on the closing track, I Don't Mind. This happens to be the starkest and most personal of the song in this, her fifth studio album. In it, she asks herself who else she has trusted and, judging by the tone of the question, the answer is 'far too many'.

The cover image shows her dressed in black, unsmiling and clutching a modest bunch of flowers. If these are supposed to be flowers of romance then they don't look entirely convincing.

Although these songs are of a woman hardened by experience this plainly doesn't mean she is any more adept at finding fidelity in her intimate relationships.

The album title suggests she is chastising herself for being too gullible. "Once I said I'd never lie but who believed me. I kept my promise and now I find the joke's on me" she laments on Silly Me.

In the first single, her excuse is that was distracted by "music soft and low" and wishes there was a Warning Bell to alert her of the danger signs.

In the follow up single, Tell Me, she advises "You've got to separate what's real, what's not real" but the visual accompanying this song suggests that she herself is not someone who likes to be pinned down or pigeon-holed. She plays seven characters in the video and despite the fact that interrogation is the theme, none are police women!

The tight musical arrangements in all the tracks- a stylized mix of commercial soul and funky R'n'B - add to a sense of claustrophobia. The music and mood may be intense and self absorbed but the songs are sensual and accessible, occasionally even catchy.

When not flying solo, Joan has worked as a violinist with artists like Anohni, Rufus Wainwright, Lou Reed, Beck and Sufjan Stevens, none of whom are known for settling for second best. She admits to being a music junkie: “I say yes to almost everything.”

Reading between the lines of the songs on this album, what counts for her varied musical projects appears to also apply to love. As the show song from Oklahoma put it: "I'm just a girl who can't say no".

Joan As Police Woman's website
  author: Martin Raybould

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JOAN AS POLICE WOMAN - Damned Devotion