Joan as Police Woman, 'To Survive' (Reveal)

To Survive
Critical Mass
Label: Reveal

by Lindsey Thomas

Entrancing chamber-pop songstress Joan Wasser easily could get by on just voice and piano, but for her second album, she flexes more ambition, and the results are rewarding. Stepping away from the ivories, Wasser wanders into a patch of violin tangles and glitchy twitters ("Holiday"), gets soulful support from horns ("Magpies"), and builds a song out of a Robert Frippish guitar lick, sustained synth chords, stark percussion, and a backup choir consisting only of herself ("Start of My Heart"). On the more familiar side, buddy Rufus Wainwright guests on "To America," a subdued cabaret tune about an inattentive lover.



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