Friday, December 26, 2008

Review: Vanessa Daou, “Joe Sent Me”

"Joe Sent Me" is the first Vanessa Daou album since 2001's "Make You Love"; it is also her first record not to be produced by Peter Daou. It sounds both familiar and very, very different to her previous work. The voice is different; less sweet, less processed, more raw and with a slightly rough edge. The sound is very different too, and that’s a good thing.


“Joe Sent Me” is dramatically different. There is jazz, and there is electronica, and there is Vanessa’s voice, but that’s about all that connects those records. “Hurricanes” reminds me of Air’s “Virgin Suicides”. “True” is Vanessa’s voice and acoustic guitar — SHOCKING!!1! “Black And White” sounds like some strange collaboration between Goldfrapp and a jazz band. “Life Force”, incredibly intrinsic sonically (this is very much a headphones record) and “Manifesto” wouldn’t fit on any previous Daou record — and I suspect that’s why it opens the album, a true manifesto of a new sound. “Love Lives In The Dark” sounds like Massive Attack (and oh my, the thought of Vanessa working with Massive Attack makes me ecstatic). This is very much a new record by an artist who hasn’t said her final word.

The sexiness and sensuality, always present in Vanessa’s records, take a new dimension here; she isn't the androgynous girl who sung “Sunday Afternoons" anymore — she is, very much, a very grown up woman. The girl is still present in the songs like "Heart Of Wax"; but it is a very different person who wrote "Joe Sent Me". "And don’t be thinking/you're the only one/who knows” she warns, and shivers go down my spine. "Here’s the pen you gave me/to write my poetry/I said I’d give it back to you the day you stop inspiring me/Here’s the glass, it’s empty" begins “Black And White” and, again, the thrill is almost physical. Those lyrics were worth waiting seven years for." Typing in Stereo

read also: "Love, Vanessa" at Typing in Stereo

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