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 411mania » Music » Album Reviews

Warpaint - Warpaint Review
Posted by Daniel Wilcox on 01.22.2014

Warpaint is:
Emily Kokal – vocals, guitar, synthesizer
Theresa Wayman – guitar, vocals, keyboards, drums
Jenny Lee Lindberg – bass, vocals
Stell Mozgawa – drums, guitar, keyboards, vocals


Track listing:
1. Intro
2. Keep It Healthy
3. Love Is To Die
4. Hi
5. Biggy
6. Teese
7. Disco/Very
8. Go In
9. Feeling Alright
10. CC
11. Drive
12. Son
Running time: 51:16

Warpaint is a difficult album to judge. After giving the album a solitary listen all the way through if I were to describe the album in one word that would be “charming.” Give it a couple of listens and that word becomes “engaging.” Four or five listens and I'm using superlatives like “captivating,” maybe even “intoxicating.” If you allow it to, Warpaint will take over you.

Described with labels ranging from dream pop to psychedelic to the much more catch-all of indie rock, Warpaint is a band that was primed for big things from the get-go. Red Hot Chili Peppers legend John Frusciante liked them so much he produced one of their early Eps. Their debut album, The Fool, released in 2010, was a masterpiece that the band backed up with years of enthralling live shows. In 2014 the girls are back to capture your imagine once again, and the scary part is, they do it with such minimal effort.

Warpaint surrounds you. The way every element of the music interacts with one another, from the beautifully haunting vocal harmonies to the sassy and flirtatious basslines, as well as the marauding hi-hat of Mozgawa's drum, it's not like several sounds combining but more one sheet of music twisting itself around your body, engulfing you. But it does so in a way that is neither threatening nor dangerous. It makes you want to know more. It draws you in more and more with every listen. The use of synthesizers on this album is bedazzling. Note by note Warpaint leads you down a mysterious path littered with unknown wonders. You don't know where it's leading but you know you'll be safe there.

What Warpaint lacks in big pop choruses, it makes up for in everlasting melodies. The music has a lack of structure that might prove too daunting for some listeners who feel more at home with their inescapable pop hooks, but to those willing to hand their ears over to Wayman's piercing vocal, there is a new understanding in each track upon every listen. Unquestionably this is an album that rewards those who give it multiple listens. Not only does it engage your mind at every turn, but you hear new things that you've never heard before even if you're listening to the album for the umpteenth time.

The band's second full-length offering is incredibly feminine. It stands to juxtapose the confrontational name of the band. This is seen most clearly on the club-ready yet oddly meditative “Disco/Very” and romantic “Teese.” But if there's a statement to be made here, it's that psychedelic music is alive and well and it is alive in well in the mainstream eye through the hypnotic powers of Warpaint. Amongst the album's 12 tracks, every moment of melancholy suffers a reawakening via a glittery vocal, or a pulsating synth. Warpaint create beautiful choruses not through catchy hooks or sex appeal, but a sultry effervescence. Warpaint passes before you realise it's every arrived – it leaves behind a haze wherever it goes and you can never pinpoint a moment where it begins or a moment where it ends.

Warpaint - “Love Is To Die”

The 411: The 411: Ambient music has its detractors, usually those who can't grasp the concept of songs without a definitive structure. Sometimes it's OK just to drift, so long as you're drifting from A to B rather than aimlessly round in circles. Well Warpaint's self-titled effort picks you, wraps you in a blank of dark sensuality and transports you to a far enchanted world. When you think it's time to go home, you're frequently drawn back in. There are scarce moments when you feel you've fallen too far and lost all sense of time and space, and that's when Warpaint wanders around you and truly gets inside your mind and your soul. The more willing you are to let yourself go, the more pleasurable the overall experience will undoubtedly be. Delivering on all the promise that was heaped upon them at the turn of the decade, Warpaint is masterpiece this band has been promising to deliver. It's early days, but Warpaint is the early frontrunner for album of the year.
411 Elite Award
Final Score:  9.0   [  Amazing ]  legend


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