In Review: Joan As Police Woman - Cover Two

Eleven years in the making, Joan Wasser aka Joan As Police Woman transforms another host of iconic tracks into compositions that feel entirely her own.
Posted: 13 May 2020 Words: Will Lewis

Joan Wasser, aka Joan As Police Woman, has been working on Cover Two for the eleven years since her previous covers album aptly named Cover. The former featured experimental and eclectic covers from a wide range of artists featuring Bowie, Hendrix, and Adam & the Ants. However, her second venture into covers has seen her strip back and lay bare tracks that are almost as unrecognisable as they were upon their original release. In doing so, Wasser has reimagined and reinvented these songs into a soulful composition resulting in a beautifully crafted album.

The album opens with an incredibly sultry cover of Prince’s ‘Kiss’, a song which featured heavily on her tours last year. Undoubtedly recognisable but stripped back so bare her voice oozes with the desire required of such a song which she stamps her own authority on. It’s an indication of the route she takes throughout the emotively gratifying album. Outkast’s ‘Spread’ follows, which features Meshell Ndegeocello taking the role of Andre 3000 over Wasser’s beatboxing.

One of the finest re-imaginings comes during an emotional 'Under Control', featuring a simple cavernous combination of piano, guitar, and Wasser’s incredible vocals which totally reinvent The Strokes' noughties classic indie hit. Elsewhere, Cass McCombs’ ‘Not The Way’ is transformed electronically whilst  ‘I Keep Forgetting’ loses the 80’s silky, soulful stylings of Michael McDonald as it’s transformed into a slow and powerful break-up ballad. ‘Life’s What You Make It’, which she performed at a London tribute show for the late Mark Hollis of Talk Talk in the eve of 2019, sees Wasser exchange vocals with Justin Hicks over a subtly funky backdrop.

‘Out of Time’ is another song that she has been performing live in her tours over the last year. It’s an incredibly emotional and intimate cover of Blur that’s followed by a minimalistic and melancholic version of Neil Young’s ‘On The Beach’.  The album draws to a close with ‘There Are Worse Things I Could Do’, from the household classic film Grease, before ending with a completely sparse, chillingly bare version of Gil Scott-Heron’s ‘Running’.

It’s an ending typifying the album itself, bringing emotion and intimacy to the forefront. Making your mark in a cover song is one thing, reinventing it so it sounds like your own work is another, and Joan As Police Woman has done just that throughout. It’s an insight into an extraordinarily creative mind that has resulted in a singular, unifying piece of work.

To hear more from Joan As Police Woman, click here. 

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