Joan As Police Woman, Tony Allen, Dave Okumu: The Solution Is Restless review – subtle and slinky

(PIAS)
This classy collaboration sounds familiar but unique at the same time, a jazzy musing on what it takes to live

Born from a 2019 Africa Express collaboration between the sinuous, storied New York singer-songwriter Joan Wasser and the late Afrobeat don, Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen, The Solution Is Restless is an album that worms its way under your skin, reminding you of half a dozen records you love while sounding unlike anything else around. “Are you afraid to hear a gospel so unholy?” enquires Wasser on opening track The Barbarian. Allen’s slinky jazz percussion occasionally trips up the listener – indeed, you’d call the classy, wise murk of these tracks “trip-hop” if that genre hadn’t been so devalued.

Wasser built this subtle, intense album during lockdown, using the raw material of the 2019 sessions with Allen and arch-collaborator Dave Okumu: Take Me to Your Leader was inspired by New Zealand’s PM, Jacinda Ardern. The album is not about the pandemic, though: another track already available, Geometry of You, operates at the intersection of maths and sensuality, with Wasser cooing about “sticky wickets”. Get My Bearings tries to come to terms with Allen’s death in 2020; throughout, Wasser tackles how to continue to live and feel, through, she says, “a poetic understanding of quantum physics”.

Watch the video for Geometry of You.

Contributor

Kitty Empire

The GuardianTramp

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