Release Date: Jan 21, 2014
Record label: Rough Trade
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
When Los Angeles band Warpaint’s debut album ‘The Fool’ came out in late 2010, it was a soundtrack to late-night, solitary strolls through empty streets. It came on like an undiscovered tropical disease, pulling you into the underbelly of life via its drunken spell. Its loose ‘songs’ were woozy concoctions, sprawling into unexpected directions, distracting you from the world – and from Warpaint themselves.
A name like Warpaint is a dare, a confrontation, a preparation for a battlefield ahead. But unlike suiting up for war, Los Angeles-based psych-crooners Warpaint’s battle is against the claim that nothing provocative is happening in contemporary rock music. Through the subtle swathes of psychedelia, dusky guitars, and masterful ambience, Warpaint — comprised of guitarist/vocalists Theresa Wayman and Emily Kokal, drummer Stella Mozgawa and bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg — are also challenging the normalized generalizations often thrust upon women in rock bands.
Perhaps the most striking facet of Warpaint’s second full-length LP is the length of time it’s taken to get from their synapses to their fingertips to tape and to our ears. After 2010?s The Fool, the band were secured passage straight into the coven of critical darlinghood, ascending further than many artists do on the back of comparatively small morsels of music. You’d think they’d be swollen with adrenaline, eager to ravage the studio once more – but nothing concrete ever surfaced.
Few bands of recent times have made attracting both an obsessive fanbase and critical acclaim seem as effortless as Los Angeles’ Warpaint. The languorous, psychedelic indie of their 2010 debut offering, The Fool, felt like the work of a band arriving fully formed: an impenetrably cool gang who happened to have hazy, seductive songs on tap. This self-titled follow-up looks likely to continue their winning streak.
WarpaintWarpaint(Rough Trade)4 out of 5 stars On their second full-length album, the Los Angeles quartet Warpaint continue to evoke a thrilling L.A. noir underground where even TMZ’s cameras fear to tread. Sensual vocals intertwine with menacing lyrics. Throbbing grooves swell alongside unsettling rhythms.
"Undertow" was one of the highlights from Warpaint's debut album The Fool, and it still describes and defines their sneakily captivating approach and appeal. Their songs circle around themselves like smoke, creating a seductive haze. On Warpaint, the band gives more shape to that haze without sacrificing any of its delicate beauty, an effect echoed by the layered, mirage-like photos of Chris Cunningham's gorgeous artwork.
In 2014, Radiohead is still a hard band to criticize. Though their recent output has been moody, atmospheric, and for many, takes some patience and investment to enjoy, most wouldn’t argue against their creativity and refusal to color within the lines. Regardless of whether or not you like it, it is easy to respect. This can often feel like the exact opposite aim of radio-aspiring pop artists, who want to, er, need to hook you on first listen, knowing they might not even get a second chorus to make their impression upon you.
In the space of two records, Emily Kokal, Theresa Wayman, Jenny Lee Lindberg and Stella Mozgawa have established themselves as one of the most vital bands to emerge out of America this side of the Millennium. Bandying around those kind of claims normally teeters on the precipice of hyberbole, or a WONGA advert minus the dodgy small-print. In the case of Warpaint, it’s simple.
One of 2014’s most anticipated records comes early on in the year in the form of Warpaint’s self-titled second album. Central to any hints that the band have dropped over the past year or so has been the suggestion that we should expect a different direction from their 2010 debut The Fool, but even if its eventual sound was hard to predict, it was almost a given that it would be a highly assured piece of work. Some of the songs have apparently come about as the result of jamming during soundchecks, and when you consider that Warpaint’s formidable live reputation is in part due to their super-tight onstage chemistry, this is an encouraging prospect.
To fully appreciate Warpaint, we first need to talk about love. Naturally, for most of us this is hard and painful and awkward territory. And that’s part of it. Because as the corporate monopoly on sentimentality has spread, so too has our immunity to it. Our generation got wise to the hype of ….
A few seconds into Warpaint’s second full-length release, the music stops, somebody laughs and then the band counts the song over again, and this moment embodies the record—revealing a band more concerned with capturing and preserving a mood rather than simply producing a product. Songs like “Biggy” and “Teese” demonstrate how the band dips into seemingly opposing genres and styles in order to create an unrestricted and unexplored musical landscape. And gang vocals on songs like “Disco // Very” and “Love Is to Die” come across like tribal incantations, but the shamanistic rhythms aren’t exclusively set by the drummer or the bassist.
On their self-titled sophomore effort, Warpaint take a decisive turn toward emphatic inversion, a perhaps telling reaction understood within the context in which the band’s 2010 debut, The Fool, was critically received. It’s as if the all-female four-piece — featuring Emily Kokal (vocals, guitar), Theresa Wayman (vocals, guitar), Jenny Lee Lindberg (bass and backing vocals), and Stella Mozgawa (drums) — wanted to make a point of their having decided to shun and consequently dismiss the pointed yet all-too-common criticisms found among reviews of that first album, because on Warpaint, those very objects cease to be outlier aspects of Warpaint’s sound and are instead celebrated, taking front and center stage, becoming the music’s very driving substance. Whatever the meaning of this turn, it’s an interesting one, especially coming from this band.
It’s been a little while since we last heard from Warpaint. Four calendar years have passed since the Los Angeles quartet’s critically acclaimed debut, The Fool, was a buzzed-about blog favorite, and it’s been two years since the band did any significant, non-festival-based touring. That’s a long time to test the attention spans of an online indie music community that thrives on shouting “First!” about the next big thing.
Warpaint have been quiet since bursting onto the scene in 2010 with The Fool, a rush of noisy, atmospheric rock that deservedly nabbed a lot of favourable looks. The ensuing years consisted of touring, festivals and starting to jam and write with the lineup that included then-new drummer Stella Mogzawa. Finally, the result, a stripped-down and sinuously groovy collection produced and mixed by industry veteran Flood, is ready for consumption.It kicks off with a couple of agitated sparks, including lead single "Love is to Die," that recall the coiled percussive energy of vintage Police or Massive Attack.
Moody Los Angeles post-punkers Warpaint entranced heartsick indie fans with their 2010 full-length debut, The Fool. On their self-titled follow-up, the all-female quartet's gift for ringing, skeletal guitar lines, slyly defiant lyrics and keening melodies remains intact. This time out – aided by frequent U2 collaborator Flood's spacious production, with mixing help from Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich – the band proves it can work bodies as well as massage spirits.
Warpaint's self-titled sophomore effort arrives over three years after the Los Angeles quartet's debut, and while that may be an unhurried, unorthodox pace for a band with this much buzz surrounding it, it's one that mirrors their singular brand of psych-rock: slow and methodical, searching but sure-footed, moody and physical in equal measure. Childhood friends Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman, who share guitar and vocal duties, remain the group's creative center, but Warpaint finds the two moving toward a more subdued, ethereal sound, their sinuous grooves and spooky-sexy vocal melodies stretched thinner than ever and immersed in an intoxicating tide of synths and ambient noise. When this works, it makes for a pretty killer cocktail, and four of Warpaint's first five tracks are unqualified triumphs.
On the follow-up to their hugely hyped 2010 debut, the four women of L.A.-based Warpaint cast the same mysterious spell that makes their dreamy alt-rock sound alluring and dreary in equal parts. Their self-titled release finds the band in a sexier mindset, a decision guitarist/vocalist Theresa Wayman says was intentional. Group vocals are delicately laid over cool bass lines and drums to dazed, harmonic effect.
Anyone who's heard Warpaint's 2010 album The Fool might be forgiven for feeling a little nonplussed by the interviews the band have given to promote its eponymous followup. The 60,000 British fans who bought it might well have thought they were listening to a dreamy, hushed, darkly subtle debut album. But they would have been mistaken, at least according to Warpaint's guitarist and vocalist Theresa Wayman, who appears to think they were in fact listening to a cross between Trout Mask Replica, the Mahivishnu Orchestra circa The Inner Mounting Flame and Swedish technical death metal pioneers Meshuggah.
It's a rare feat to see an indie rock band as stylishly presented as Warpaint is on their self-titled second album. The Los Angeles quartet's 2010 debut The Fool certainly got them to an admirable level of success, albeit one where having either Flood produce or Nigel Godrich mix the follow-up would be a serious coup; nearly three years in the making, Warpaint has both. Acclaimed video director Chris Cunningham is on board as well, contributing the arresting visuals for first single "Love Is to Die" as well as the cover art.
For many, Warpaint made a fairly big first impression with their single Undertow, a breezy, summery track that, like its title suggested, had something going on underneath, its low bass rumble and accusatory refrain undercutting the sweet, slightly C86ish, vocals and jangling guitars, like gingham fabric stitched in gothic black. Possibly it might have made too much of an impression, as while The Fool, the album that swiftly followed, though warmly received, has lost some of its original fervor as time has passed. No matter how much the beautifully woozy offerings were replayed, they never really seemed to come into focus or provide the warmth (albeit one with a slight chill running through it) of that single, and more and more of the conversations around the band (anecdotally speaking at least) seemingly skipped over the album to jump to the consolatory conclusion that "they’re really a great live band, though".
Some of the most rewarding music is made for drifting. Ambient, most obviously, and pastoral folk and psychedelia all operate with half-lidded eyes, gaze turned inward. Although the verse-chorus-verse Pooters might take issue here, there is nothing wrong with drift. Warpaint drift, but their drifting doesn't transport you anywhere too noteworthy on their second, self-titled album.
Los Angeles based Warpaint have released their self-titled third album, produced by post punk revivalist Mark Ellis aka Flood and mixed by Nigel Godrich. The gang (girls in the group, boys behind the board) waste no time, diving into the brooding material with reckless abandon. The results are usually very easy on the ears and often a huge advancement from their 2010 breakthrough The Fool.
Mixing 60s wall-of-sound baroque pop, shoegaze otherworldliness, Sub Pop slackerdom, garage pyschedelia, R&B hookiness and ketamine hip-hop, each Warpaint release to date has been blessed with a quiet confidence. Talking to The Guardian, Theresa Wayman said of the new long player Warpaint that this time around “We leant towards things we thought were sexier.” Warpaint have always been sexy though. There's been an irresistible twilight, road movie grind to their music, all half-asleep grooves and stoned humping.
Warpaint’s debut album, 2010’s The Fool, sounded at times like it was recorded in a dripping rainforest, from the sticky echoes on “Bees” to the slowly cranked-up pace of “Composure. ” A little over three years later, the all-female quartet has slowed down even further, and thrown a bucket of ice water on the atmospherics, to both the benefit and detriment of its self-titled second album. The band still sounds too structured to be called drone and too artfully arranged to be punk, but draws from both those genres—along with strains of funk and R&B—on the first half of the record, which boasts its share of supremely cool grooves.
“Undertow,” the breakthrough single from Warpaint’s 2010 debut, was a tidy summation of the Los Angeles band’s sound. The heavy tension between its sludgy basslines, distorted guitars, and ethereal vocals was a road map for the rest of “The Fool”: A lot of beauty lurked in all that brooding. Four years later, Warpaint is back with a dialed-down sophomore release that clears out some of the aural clutter while ushering in faint traces of R&B and dance music.
Author rating: /10.
In reviews for their 2010 debut The Fool, there was something suspiciously over-eager about the blanket championing of rock act Warpaint, almost as if the entire music press had rushed to validate the L.A. band merely on account of the quartet’s uncommon all-female constitution, coupled with the fact that – holy condescension, Batman – these women could actually play. In the end, all this untempered endorsement served to divert attention from the band’s many shortcomings, and the fact that The Fool was a mediocre record.
Warpaint (Rough Trade) Krautrock's metronomic headspace encountered a ripple in the force via Warpaint's 2010 debut full-length, The Fool. Aquatic somnambulance rather than Germanic jam powered the L.A. foursome of Emily Kokal, Theresa Wayman, Jenny Lee Lindberg, and Stella Mozgawa, the former two vox moaning monastically Portishead, while the latter rhythm section applied a Tortoise epidural.
opinion byBRENDAN FRANK Ask ten different people what the highest virtue is, and you’ll likely get ten different answers. Ask any member of Warpaint and they would likely tell you that it’s patience. After forming on Valentine’s Day 2004, it took Emily Kokal, Theresa Wayman, Jenny Lee Lindberg and Stella Mozgawa nearly four years to make an EP.
Anybody who’s seen Warpaint in action knows what a musical powerhouse the L.A. quartet is. So it’s a bit of a surprise to spin the band’s new, eponymous record and get an entirely different experience. Produced by U2/Depeche Mode/PJ Harvey co-conspirator Flood, Warpaint is an odd, atmospheric take on the group’s patented groove rock.
Warpaint – Warpaint (Rough Trade)It doesn’t feel right to accuse a band dedicated to the ethereal for lacking gravity, but Warpaint’s music had had the tendency to dissolve before setting itself into memory, even within the out-of-focus genre where they work. Part of the problem is that they’ve been so plainly dedicated to genre. They had already been plugging away for a while when their first album broke in 2010.It came at just the right time, as the cloudy-but-catchy dissonances of the Banshees and Cocteaus became the latest ideal.