Formed in 2004, Warpaint are far from a prolific band. While most indie groups will release upwards of three albums in the space of five years, Warpaint have only released one in the past ten. This unusual lengthy approach served them well on their 2010 debut The Fool, an album full of emotion, thrill and exquisite jangly rock.
Released on Rough Trade, Warpaint sees the four-piece female ensemble experiment in brand new territory, full of synths, drum machines and extended harmonies
The Fool’s success let the band travel the world, touring festivals and supporting The xx for a few dates. This time spent touring allowed the band to play with new ideas. Eventually these ideas amalgamated into Warpaint’s new self-titled album. Released on Rough Trade, Warpaint sees the four-piece female ensemble experiment in brand new territory, full of synths, drum machines and extended harmonies. The album was produced by Nigel Godrich of Radiohead fame and mastered by post-punk legend Flood. These two names are going to get any indie fan’s blood pumping, so mix them together with Warpaint’s growing trendiness and you’ve got an all out indie orgy.
hints at the fact that the album was conceived during sound checks as drummer Stella Mozgawa yells “ahh, sorry” after messing up one of her patterns
The Los Angeles based group begin proceedings with an instrumental track doused in lengthy bass rhythms and smooth guitar riffs. It even hints at the fact that the album was conceived during sound checks as drummer Stella Mozgawa yells “ahh, sorry” after messing up one of her patterns. What follows is the track “Keep it Healthy”, a song that reminds us just why Warpaint get the attention they deserve: Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman’s vocals. Their interweaving harmonies are used with echo filters that add great depth to two already beautiful voices.
Next up is the brilliant single “Love is to Die”. Kokal’s emotion during the chorus is palpable while Mozgawa pounds on the drums frantically. Two other tracks on the album, “Biggy” and “Teese” repeat this pattern and to great effect. “Biggy” contains such a Nigel Godrich sound one could even imagine it on Kid A. “Teese”, on the other hand, is a slightly more subdued semi-acoustic number and is by far the best track on the album.
Although not quite hitting the bar, Warpaint still has a lot of thoroughly enjoyable moments and is certainly worth a listen
Sadly, however, Warpaint does not quite live up to expectations. Although Kokal and Wayman’s vocals are phenomenal, they are not enough to rescue some of the more boring tracks on the album. Songs like “CC” and “Go In” end without ever sounding as if they began, while “Hi” contains a drum machine sample that plays like a preset on a 404. Although not quite hitting the bar, Warpaint still has a lot of thoroughly enjoyable moments and is certainly worth a listen. Perhaps the high expectations of the album are what let it down, or perhaps Warpaint need longer than ten years’ experience in order to record a masterpiece.