Review: Joan as Policewoman in Dublin - 'a groovier, more accessible sound'
Joan as Policewoman, Button Factory, Dublin
Joan Wasser's recent career has been a case study in casting off your inhibitions and giving voice to the crowd-pleaser within.
In her early days as Joan as Policewoman, Wasser specialised in mediative balladry stitched together from hushed silences and flagellating lyrics.
However, with 20011’s The Deep Field, she set pulled back the curtains and embraced a groovier, more accessible sound – one influenced by Amy Winehouse soul-pop rather than by the star-crossed strummings of her late boyfriend Jeff Buckley.
She doubled down on this transformation on last year’s Let It Be You, a quirky yet beguiling coming together with frizzy-haired New York songwriter Benjamin Lazar Davis.
They resumed their beautiful musical friendship at the Button Factory with a concert that showcased the performers’ irreverent chemistry as they pinged between the sensual Magic Lamp and their new album’s shoulder-swinging title track.
In a Seventies jumpsuit and with retro bouncy hair, Wasser thoroughly overshadowed her bandmate, for which he was visibly grateful.
But for all her new found perkiness it was the older, downtempo songs that really landed their punches.
That was especially true of The Ride and Feed The Light, bare-boned standouts from her 2007 debut album. It was a reminder that the more you try to leave behind your past, the greater it tends to define you.