Let It Be You

Joan As Police Woman / Benjamin Lazar Davis

Reveal Records, 2016


REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Joan Wasser (who goes by the stage name Joan As Police Woman) has collaborated with numerous famous and diverse artists. So, to say she is a musical chameleon wouldn’t not be far from the truth. And Let It Be You proves just that.

This fifth album of original songs (excluding Cover, her limited release album of covers) is a collaboration with artist Benjamin Lazar Davis and is an interesting attempt by the duo at pop music. This is because the team of Wasser, who is primarily a violin player, and Davis, who isn’t really a pop musician, has produced a record that unexpectedly has some serious pop tricks. These are carried out to the level of perfection of an absolute pop artist.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

For example, the exuberant chorus on the Davis-sung “Overloaded” has a perfect angelic feel; it’s as catchy a chorus can get on a pop song. Meanwhile, the soul-tinged vocals on the Wasser-sung “Magic Lamp” have the appeal of a pop singer designed to grab your attention.

But Let It Be You is not intended to be your typical indie pop disc, as you realize pretty quickly. Wasser and Davis operate cleverly around the fringes of pop to keep their music attractive, but at the core, they nurture enough weirdness that their songs are actually more quirky than just plain sweet.

If the album’s rather sparse and oftentimes deliberately clumsy instrumentation combined with beefy beats are not an indication of this, then the closing number “Station” definitely is. This track is not only as far the duo gets from their attempt at pop but is such an outlier from the rest of the record that it doesn’t even belong here. Yet it does, and believe it or not, it is one of the best – if not the best – cuts here.

Starting off with whisperingly creepy vocals and soft noir guitars, “Station” is captivating in an unsettling and creepy way right from the get-go. When the drumming starts in its second half, it has a chillingly funereal beat, as if it is celebrating everything dark. This track is suffocating, but one cannot resist but fall into its spell just like one does on the bright and sunny moments of the disc’s other cuts.

“Station” is the duo’s way of making it loud and clear to the listener to not take this album for granted. Nevertheless, by the time one gets to this number, it is pretty obvious that Let It Be You is a mix of many things – sexy, awkward, cheerful, bleak, polished, and rough. It is certainly a mixed bag, but a rewarding one if you are open to musical messiness and embracing the unexpected.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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