|Artist||Joan As Police Woman & Benjamin Lazar Davis|
|Album||Let It Be You|
|Year of release||2016|
On March 19th 2017 I went to see Joan As Police Woman (real name Joan Wasser) & Benjamin Lazar Davis in concert at the Melkweg, Amsterdam. I wasn’t really in the mood for a show and have even considered not going. Am I glad I did go! The show was overwhelming. The last album I bought was Joan As Police Woman’s 2014 album The Classic, so I didn’t know the new album yet. Although, new? It was released on October 21st 2016.
Of both (artist) names I only knew Joan As Police Woman. That name refers to the TV series Police Woman, wherein Angie Dickinson plays a part. Joan Wasser thought the actress to be inspirational, because she was simultaneously powerful and sexy.
The debut album, Real Life, was released in 2006. Since then new albums, using the moniker Joan As Police Woman, are regularly released. Next to that Joan Wasser does a lot of session work. She contributed to albums, songs and tours by Antony & The Johnsons, Elton John, Lou Reed, Rufus Wainwright, John Cale, Sheryl Crow, Scissor Sisters, Sparklehorse, Dave Gahan, David Sylvian/Steve Jansen, Lloyd Cole and Placebo.
Benjamin Lazar Davis is from New York and is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, arranger, composer and producer. He is part of several bands, like Okkervil River and Cuddle Magic.
Joan As Police Woman and Benjamin Lazar Davis ran into each other in Africa (!), got to talking about a shared interest in the scales of Central-African Pygmees (for real) and decided to make an album together.
About the jumpsuits, which they both wear on the album-cover and during concerts: Davis was in Ghana and saw a man wearing the jumpsuit and went up to him and asked “I love your jumpsuit. Want to trade clothes?” And so they did. Davis wore the jumpsuit non-stop. Because Joan more or less owned the same jumpsuit, they decided to each wear one for the duration of the project.
Why is this album so beautiful? The album’s sound is unique, Joan As Police Woman truly sings marvelously, the cooperation is (clearly) a win/win and, rather importantly, music is played at top level. Guitarist Ryan Dugre and drummer Ian Chang are both exceptional musicians, who both contribute greatly to the album’s sound. The music spreads from pop to jazz and from minimal to electronic. Moving and sensual.
The album’s opening song, Broke Me In Two, also released as a single, sets the standard. The song starts off with a distorted guitar riff (that riff is a recurring motif throughout the album) and continues with glorious drums and a beautiful refrain. Great opener! The next song, Overloaded, also has the guitar riff, a 6/4 rhythm; top. The title-song is also rhythmically inventive, that sounds perfect. Satellite is equally beautiful. A somewhat quieter song with beautiful, heavy melodies. The last song is the undisputed gem: Station. A beautiful repetitive guitar-line and a great whisper-singing Joan As Police Woman. Halfway through the song bursts open. It is astonishingly beautiful:
won’t you meet me at the station
cause i want so badly cry
cause when i see you i can’t help but crying
don’t you find me rather impatient
cause i can’t seem to quiet in my mind
anticipation drives me to my madness
but it’s all for the love of you
© Station, Joan Wasser & Benjamin Lazar Davis, 2016
But, just to be clear: all of Let It Be You is a collection of songs that sound loose, but are ingeniously crafted and are full of creativity.
All songs are written by Joan Wasser & Benjamin Lazar Davis, except for Magic Lamp, to which Tim Davis also contributed.
- Broke Me In Two
- Magic Lamp
- Let It Be You
- Hurts So Bad
- Easy Money
- Violent Dove
Joan As Police Woman & Benjamin Lazar Davis – Let It Be You – Ad: revealrecords.co.uk
Joan As Police Woman & Benjamin Lazar Davis – Live image: theupcoming.co.uk
Joan As Police Woman & Benjamin Lazar Davis – Station – music: spotify.com