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Music: Joan as Police Woman - The Deep Field ****

In the best tradition of the confessional singer-songwriter, Joan Wasser has delivered a pair of deeply personal albums, whose plaintive songs have drawn on personal tragedy. She was Jeff Buckley's partner at the time of his death.

The classically trained New Yorker served her apprenticeship as a member of Antony and the Johnsons, before tentatively going out on her own. Right from the off, a sense of maturity has pervaded her songs.

This, her third album, marks a huge departure for her. While her last album, the aptly named To Sorrow, was a melancholy affair, The Deep Field is an uplifting experience.

The sparse production of before has been replaced by jubilant, widescreen music. And it's not just the sound that's been beefed up -- Wasser's joie de vivre encompasses a celebration of sex.

It's to her considerable credit that such an about turn is delivered with the same sort of aplomb as before. Anyone discovering her work for the first time is in for a treat.

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