Album title: Warpaint
Released: January 21st 2014
The perpetually ethereal ensemble Warpaint returned this year to the tangible realm with a self-titled second studio album. Continuing the success of their 2008 debut EP Exquisite Corpse and the 2010 debut album The Fool, discount the female four piece have yet again produced a bewitching piece of work. Ripples of psychedelia work with gothically spectral guitars throughout the album reinforcing the band’s natural flow and notable sultriness to their music. The line-up have confessed that they saw the album as an opportunity for them to work together more cohesively, find acknowledging that this element also produced a more mature end result. Prominent experimental photographer and filmmaker Chris Cunningham provided the cover art and also premiered visual snippets featuring footage of the band performing in a soon to be released documentary of his.
The leading track ‘Love is to Die’ embodies a truly opulent quality though Emily Kokal’s hazy but sumptuous vocal layers echoing throughout. Stella Mozgawa’s stirring trip hop drum beat balances the form of the track, ambulance anchoring the listener to that of the lucid and sure. Lyrically, the song emulates the ambiguity between the human mind and the heart, “love is to die, why did you not die,” repetition also reveals the inclusive theme of doubt, “got to give in, got to give in…got to let go, got to let go.”
Biggy is a track more akin to a hallucination on a desert island than a ghostly apparition. A calculated steady riff is set against soft synths and even laxer vocals making it a lenient move from the somewhat mournful cries heard in other tracks. Songs such as this truly show the difference from their previous studio album. There is a fuller, layered, well rounded quality to it while holding true to the known and respected Warpaint musical aesthetics.
The foreboding tribal track, ‘Disco//very,’ is almost an aural assault compared to the rest of the album tracks, still though… a welcome one. Lyrically, it’s a very certain proclamation, “like cyanide…its poison…she’ll eat you alive…don’t you battle, we’ll kill you,” a brutal warning. Clashing guitar melodies building to distorted chants reminiscent of 80’s band Bow Wow Wow make for a pleasantly bewildering listen.
The progression from the seldom heard of indie band from L.A with promise, to the success story of the critically acclaimed group is no little feat. Developed technical precision and a desire for shared collective growth, with a little assistance from the exceptional post-punk producer Mark Ellis (or ‘Flood’ as he’s known) has certainly set Warpaint dynamically ahead of the pack with remarkable grace.
By Geneva Pattison