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- Holy City by Joan As Policewoman
8/10 Mike Staff review, 13 February 2014
Joan As Police Woman is back, complete with a mystifying metallic boob/hand image on the sleeve like she's auditioning for the next James Bond title sequence.
'Holy City' is a cool track, though, a punchy soul bounce full of organs, brass, big harmonies on the chorus, an almost Amy Winehouse-esque vocal delivery, a Wurlitzer (!) and Reggie Watts scatting all over the outro (!!!). Words like "strident" and "bold" apply. There's a nice buzzy guitar solo about halfway through, and then a pared back funky groove where she's totally channelling her inner Aretha, and people will find this slick and peppy slice of soul-pop lots of fun or gratingly irritating I imagine. I'm erring towards the former until the Reggie Watts bit which seems kind of tagged on and superfluous, like it's a link into another track that isn't there - it'd probably work much better in the context of an album. I'd have cut it at the end of the Aretha bit if I was her, but I'm not, so what you've got here is basically a good song and then an extra bit.
The B side heads in another direction altogether, an a capella doo-wop number where Watts is beatboxing (a much more satisfying contribution than his bit on the A side) and a quartet of backing singers doo and wop all over it. Joseph Arthur is singing bass. All the mouth sounds make it a bit like Bobby McFerrin or Take 5 or something, but really nicely executed. If you're into bold and strident soul-pop you're in luck.
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