Joan Wasser's namechecking begins with Rufus Wainwright and Antony and the Johnsons. She's performed as part of both bands. Which means she must be a valued fag hag at least.
At the time of writing she's busily supporting the rather fine Guillemots on a nationwide tour. And she's worked with Nick Cave, Elton John and Scissor Sisters.
So she's either very good, or she's the party bore who goes on and on about their celebrity connections and how tiring it is being so famous and popular. Happily Ms Wasser, with her rhythm section metamorphosising into Joan As Police Woman, confirms she has something of her own to say and the tools with which to articulate it.
The Ride EP consists of four tracks that offer a taster of debut solo album Real Life. They're not as immediate as the works of Rufus or Antony, but have that insidious manner about them that lets them burrow into the brain and set up shop there nonetheless if one is not on guard.
The Ride is a starkly melancholic piece that would work in a jazz cellar with a smoke machine and red wine on tap, with an unhurried gait and keyboards setting off her breathy, half-asleep vocals that have drawn comparisons with Chrissy Hynde and Dusty Springfield. It sounds as though it might've been recorded live. Real Life - the buried highlight of the EP - sounds like a Rufus out-take with a different vocalist, while Eternal Flame (nothing to do with The Bangles) informs us that she can't be the lighter of the flame in question. And, lest it be forgotten that she knows Antony, he pops up for a warbling duet on I Defy.
A wistfully diverting ride, all told, from a woman with a taste for talented friends.