The Deep Field

Fans of Joan Wasser looking forward to another album of heart-rending piano ballads will experience a minor shock from the New Yorker’s third outing as Joan as Policewoman.

The singer’s new album, The Deep Field - named after an obscure and distant pocket of space - is a departure from the jazzy, string-drenched sounds of her previous albums Real Life and To Survive – a denser and more muscular affair in which strings, horn and electric guitar augment Wasser’s trademark electric piano and smooth vocal delivery.

A squeal of guitar greets us on opening track Nervous, an assertive yet uneasy number that finds Wasser wrestling with her own personality. ‘There’s a wild ride going on behind the signs,’ we’re told. Wasser has dubbed the album her ‘most joyous, open record,’ and there is a certain feeling of intimacy created by her hushed vocals and by the languid soul of The Magic and Chemee.

But it’s a vibe that veers towards that most unloved tag of all: easy listening. Still, we can think of a few two-bit soul-pop divas out there who could learn something from these simple arrangements and wonder at the depth of Wasser’s emotional insight.

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