Joan As Police Woman: Damned Devotion review – understated and underrated

Damned Devotion
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Artist: Joan As Police Woman
Genre: Singer / Songwriter
Label: Play It Again Sam

Joan Wasser has never hidden behind oblique lyrics, but her sixth album may be her most soul-baring yet. On this Thomas Bartlett-produced collection, the soul elements that resounded so brazenly on 2014's The Classic are eked out in a more measured, understated manner, with murmured basslines, slouchy beats and Wasser's sultry vocals in profusion.

These are ruminations on love and life, the former best heard on the evocative Tell Me and Silly Me, while Steed (for Jean Genet) is a slinky, libidinous foray into 1970s funk. The latter, meanwhile, is most evident on album standout What Was It Like, a truly touching tribute to her late father that gets to the heart of the matter with simple, poignant lines such as, "My dance recitals, they were never concise/ You never missed one, you were always there for me."

The Silence is resoundingly indignant as she sings "My body, my choice/ Her body, her choice" over a bristling, sombre soundtrack. Such songs are why Wasser is – and will probably remain – both a seriously underrated and a fearlessly honest songwriter.

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy

Lauren Murphy is a freelance journalist and broadcaster. She writes about music and the arts for The Irish Times