To Survive

To Survive

by Joan as Police Woman
     
 

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If To Survive is any indication, Joan Wasser's life after Real Life is calmer, but no less thoughtful, than it was before her beautifully stormy debut album. Real Life was a major statement, filled with a lifetime's worth of catharsis. To Survive doesn't try for that scope -- as the title suggests, these songs are about day to day concerns…  See more details below

Overview

If To Survive is any indication, Joan Wasser's life after Real Life is calmer, but no less thoughtful, than it was before her beautifully stormy debut album. Real Life was a major statement, filled with a lifetime's worth of catharsis. To Survive doesn't try for that scope -- as the title suggests, these songs are about day to day concerns that are no less vital: aloneness, togetherness, love, hope, and righteous anger. However, Joan as Police Woman's "beauty is the new punk rock" aesthetic is used just as powerfully here, with the same kind of delicate bravery and strong vulnerability. Wasser can still set a scene like few others: "Honor Wishes" drops listeners into a sultry heart to heart, and the way she draws out "Would you love me? Would you trust me?" as she sings is as wounded as it is seductive, turning the song into a dance of understanding between two people in the middle of the night. A pair of songs make up To Survive's heart: "To Be Loved" is hopeful but bittersweet, celebrating new love and recognizing what it took to get to it with soulful brass and realizations like "when you found me I could not be loved, but then I found me and I'm happy to be loved." "To Be Lonely" is bittersweet but hopeful, wishing for lasting love with hypnotic, incantation-like simplicity and yearning pianos. These mirror image songs reveal the yin-yang chase of love and loneliness so well and so intimately that everything else on To Survive could be mediocre and it'd still be well worth hearing, but the rest of the album is nearly as strong. The easy, elegant sensuality that peeked out on Real Life from time to time is in full flower here, playfully on "Holiday" and more insistently on "Hard White Wall," where soft harmonies and keyboards contrast with driven rhythm guitars. Rebirth and gratitude are also major themes on To Survive, and though it's often more challenging to write about happiness in a meaningful way, Wasser finds unique ways to channel those feelings on the luminous tribute "Start of My Heart." Sonically speaking, To Survive is softer and cleaner than Real Life, in keeping with its more serene outlook. This works especially well on "Magpies'" sparkling melody, but the polished production distances some of the album's more intense moments, as on the politically charged "Furious," where Wasser's outrage and impatience feel a bit removed. To Survive is most affecting with songs like "To Survive," when it feels like you're sitting next to her on her piano bench. While Real Life was so fully realized that it seemed to have a life of its own, To Survive feels more like songs written by somebody than something that materialized because it had to. On those terms, the album is very, very good, and when it closes with fireworks on "To America," it might not be a completely happy ending, but it shows that in order to survive real life, it's necessary to embrace the uplifting parts of it as well as the desperate ones.

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Product Details

Release Date:
06/10/2008
Label:
Sidecho Records
UPC:
0875929002424
catalogNumber:
24

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Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Joan as Police Woman   Primary Artist
Peck Allmond   Trumpet,Mellophonium,Tenor Saxophone,Group Member
Bryce Goggin   Organ,Piano,Group Member
Ed Pastorini   Organ,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,Group Member
Ben Perowsky   Drums,Rhythm,Vocal Harmony,Group Member
David Sylvian   Vocals,Group Member
Doug Wieselman   Bass Clarinet,Baritone Saxophone,Group Member
Nathan Larson   Electric Guitar,Vocal Harmony,Group Member
Timo Ellis   Electric Guitar,Group Member
Rufus Wainwright   Vocals,Group Member
Joan Wasser   Organ,Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Strings,Electric Guitar,Tambourine,Vocals,Hand Clapping,farfisa organ,Wurlitzer,Vocal Harmony,Group Member
Parker Kindred   Percussion,Drums,Tambourine,Rhythm,Hand Clapping,Shaker,finger cymbals,Rolls,Vocal Harmony,Group Member
Rainy Orteca   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Hand Clapping,Vocal Harmony,Group Member
Maxim Moston   Violin,Group Member
Danielle Farina   Viola,Group Member
Adam Sachs   Organ,Percussion,Drums,Tambourine,Group Member
Erik Lawrence   Alto Flute,Alto Saxophone,Group Member
Theo Zimmerman   Cello,Group Member

Technical Credits

Bryce Goggin   Producer,Engineer
Doug Wieselman   Horn Arrangements
Joan Wasser   Composer,Producer,Artwork
Matt Mahurin   Cover Photo
Maxim Moston   String Arrangements
Adam Sachs   Engineer
Merritt Jacobs   Engineer

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