Joan As Police Woman
To Survive
***1/2
Reveal Records

Joan Wasser used to draw scandal as the mohawked violinist in the school orchestra, now her rebellion has been tempered down to the quietest note. Performing as Joan As Police Woman, the New York songwriter’s second album is a less fiery update on
Real Life, her 2006 debut of self-described “soul punk” torch songs. To Survive was written as her mother died of cancer and sees Joan As Police Woman sculpting down and subtracting her music to its barest tones. Few flourishes are added to her slow-floating voice - brushed drums, lingering piano notes, modest violin. When lyrics like “This is the one I will try to be lonely with” are kept so unadorned, they take on a heart-freezing honesty. On the closing duet, she cheekily punishes Rufus Wainwright (who she used to tour with) by writing his part in a higher key. It proves her feistiness is still there, even on such a hushed album.

Lee Tran Lam

Rolling Stone, July 2008