Dreamy atmosphere and gorgeous harmonies on first album in six years weave their way into your heart, feeling like welcoming back an old friend Warpaint‘s last album, Heads Up, was released back in 2016, an era that now literally seems like a different world. In those six long years, the quartet have seen many changes: motherhood, solo careers (bassist Jenny Lee Lingberg released her second solo album just last month), and relocation (drummer Stella Mozgawa has returned to her homeland of Australia). You’d expect with this amount of flux that the band’s fourth album would sound a bit disjointed, but the opposite seems to be true.
The problem with reviewing a Warpaint album, hot off the press so to speak, is that their music often takes time before all the elements settle into place. Even after numerous listens every time you revisit Warpaint's albums you'll invariably find something new, interesting, and innovative that had previously eluded you. They are also a band who, when you see them live, feed off each other's musicality, improvising, often playing in the moment.
Rooted in melancholy melodicism, sprawling acoustics and intricate drum work, Radiate Like This is a characteristically joined-up effort from the close-knit group, underscoring the strength of their musical bond - its only hindrance being the occasional pang of déjà vu. It may have been more than half a decade since the California indie quartet last gave us an album, but the band have been anything but dormant in the intervening period. Between an outstanding solo debut from Theresa 'TT' Wayman, an eclectic run of singles from jennylee including a duet with Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan, and a slew of disparate outings as a group including a contribution to an HBO soundtrack and a tribute to Gang of Four's Andy Gill, they've consistently reminded listeners of their multi-hyphenate credentials, honing their craft as individuals while bringing these new perspectives into their sessions as a band.
It's hard to believe Warpaint's debut album emerged 12 years ago, as their nebulous, indefinable, floating grooves still feel as fresh as a field of crackerjacks. They still sound new, different, impossible to pin down. Then again, this fourth album glows with a maturity, a consummate confidence. They know what they're good at and do it very, very well - and yet perhaps even they couldn't identify or diagnose the alchemy with which they conjure up improbably fluid atmospheres - dreamy but muscular, hazy yet crystalline, enigmatically exuding more sunlight and shadow than the sum of their parts.