Warpaint – Heads Up Review 

The talented and capable Art Rockers from California are back with their third studio album Heads Up and with it, Warpaint are looking to ‘add maturity to their sound’ according to Jenny Lee Lindberg. It has been a sound that always adds something more and tends to be more fluctuating within the realms of the three to six minutes of their tracks. This is yet to be pulled together into a brilliant body of work, yet they are clearly a talented bunch who can produce masterful tracks, just not that masterful album just yet. The sharper focus they’ve adopted for their third studio album could be what’s required to get that truly great album they’re capable of. 

The first track from their third album is ‘New Song’ and it is another great single that makes the most of the changes to their sound. This new song has a noticeable change of tone and is in effect a smooth and coolly delivered piece of Dance Pop. The song maximises vocal samples and slick harmonies that echo out into the shifting rhythm sections and the rolling bass. The song reflects a welcome injection of energy without the band sacrificing their core sound, which remains with the atmospheric overtures enhancing the catchy features. Beyond that, it is a bold statement of intent from them. ‘Whiteout’ is a track that has a smoother feel and more gradual progression as opposed to ‘New Song’ with open bass lines and loose riffs ahead of brushed percussion. It shifts and chimes with a relaxed feel that builds to a subtle tension as the song goes on with the lax vocals nudging the song along to this end. It’s a cool and easily delivered track, but perhaps lacks much variation of tone without being good enough to stay the same throughout. ‘So Good’ is a low slung, kicked back piece of Rock leaning Pop with oscillating bass lines and crisp, prominent percussion. The song is given a greater prominence by how the guitars and electronica are brought to the fore with a raised volume compared to the other instrumentation. This gives the song immediate appeal and the vocal unisons make for a fun, but well thought out track with which the lyrical lapses can be forgiven. 

The title track reflects a new side to the groups sound for they embrace a graceful piano ballad intro and they smoothly shift sound into a close and immediate of quick rock with heavy bass lines and ringing riffs. Perhaps they don’t go far enough with the bracing piano chords of the intro as it is dropped by the end of what ends up being a solid track, but just that. ‘Don’t Wanna’ is trimmed with a dark tone from low synth chords and a lower vocal key. When coupled with tumbling percussion and heavily chiming electronica it only forces the issue. The track signals another avenue in dark electronica that the band perhaps didn’t follow through with. ‘By Your Side’ is another track that hints at this style though the disjointed and unpredictable progression of the track seems a little too obvious here and they lose the song as a result. ‘The Stall’ offers grungier base with an atmospheric edge and is one of the highlights of the album for it’s brilliant arrangement and delivery. Sadly the album doesn’t offer up enough of these moments and despite the album offering up intrigue as Warpaint often do, it always met with wondrous discoveries. It is an album of a high standard, but disappointing when you find they had all the right ideas, but did not make the most of them. We still await that great Warpaint album.

Warpaint – Heads Up = 7.5/10

Owen Riddle 

Single Review – Warpaint – New Song


The talented and capable Art Rockers from California are back with their third studio album Heads Up for September 23rd and with it, Warpaint are looking to ‘add maturity to their sound’ according to Jenny Lee Lindberg. It has been a sound that always adds something more and tends to be more fluctuating within the realms of the three to six minutes of their tracks. This is yet to be polled together into a brilliant body of work, yet they are clearly a talented bunch who can produce masterful tracks, just not that masterful album just yet. The first track from their third album is ‘New Song’ and it is another great single that makes the most of the changes to their sound. This new song has a nori able change of tone and is in effect a smooth and coolly delivered piece of Dance Pop. The song maximises vocal samples and slick harmonies that echo out into the shifting rhythm sections and the rolling bass. The song reflects a welcome injection of energy without the band sacrificing their core sound, which remains with the atmospheric overtures enhancing the catchy features. 

Owen Riddle

Warpaint – Warpaint Review

California’s Warpaint return with their second album of the same name. It is a follow up from their 2010 debut entitled The Fool. That album had generally positive reviews if not spectacular but nevertheless its a pretty good base to start from. The notorious second album is now what they have to face up to. Having said that. I don’t see them having too much of an issue with it as they already seem to have the production and recording techniques at a pretty high level and back in 2010 they were able to present lighter shades and darker tones in the music through a variety of methods, but who knows?

‘Love Is To Die’ was the first track they unveiled back in October. The songs starts off very sparsely and steadily and smoothly introduced elements on top of the previous. First with the subtle percussion and synths sounds and eerie vocals and then the rotating bass line give some depth and some rhythm along with the more standard percussion to allow for the vocals to come in. The soft echo on them lets each line trickle back into the bass line groove. The backing vocals do the same while the guitar parts simply add texture rather than play a starring role. The chorus is topped off with a vertical like vocal progression but they fade it back in to the understated and cool feel of the song. The song never really outreaches itself but its the cool and calmness that speaks much louder in this song. With ‘Love Is To Die’ being a spaced out atmospheric affair that had it’s melodies and hooks evaporate and fade out; with ‘Biggy’ you feel that the atmospheric quality is closer to home if you like. Perhaps a little more immediate and cut off for it is still there, but not to the same extent of the preceding track. The song has a more drawn out and extended vocal that pulls the song towards the same order. The overriding synth chords only have a slight echo and make it feel much more immediate. Apart from that each sound fades out in an isolated way. Less in unison as they did in ‘Love Is To Die’. All in all it evokes a much more mysterious and darker quality and feel.

‘Keep It Healthy’ is characterized by the cascading bass line and the steady rhythm it invokes. The vocals soar over the general rotation of the instrumentals for a more straightforward track on the whole, but one that works well on it’s own and in the context of the whole album with the stylistic alteration. ‘Disco/Very’ is recorded in a more claustrophobic and slightly muffled fashion as if they were playing in your living room. The deep rooted bass syncs in well with the main beat for a solid instrumental base for some interesting vocal methods and combinations that work most of the time. The layering atop the bass and percussion foundation is fantastic though and really generates a textured rhythm. ‘Drive’ has a very subdued feel to it with the muffled bass and the beeping from the synths as the vocals wash over it all with the help of an expanded and delayed echo. A further variation in tone but one that leaves you a little detached. ‘Hi’ has a great and ensuing beat of which all the other elements jump from. A great show of vocal agility to lead the song through it’s progression. To sum up, I think this is more than a worthy follow up from The Fool and expands adding a variety of tones and song structures that always stick to a central element so that the atmospheric and emotive quality is not completely lost. An accomplished piece of art-rock that was well worth the wait.

Warpaint – Warpaint = 8.5/10

 

Images from www.rockshock.it / warpaintwarpaint.com 

 

Single Review – Warpaint – Biggy

Warpaint’s self titled second album will be out early next year and they have released their second track of the album with Biggy. The first track off the album; Love Is To Die was a spaced out atmospheric affair that had it’s melodies and hooks evaporate and fade out. With Biggy you feel that the atmospheric quality is closer to home if you like. Perhaps a little more immediate and cut off for it is still there, but not to the same extent of the preceding track. The song has a more drawn out and extended vocal that pulls the song towards the same order. The overriding synth chords only have a slight echo and make it feel much more immediate. Apart from that each sound fades out in an isolated way. Less in unison as they did in Love Is To Die. All in all it evokes a much more mysterious and darker quality and feel. It is a great track that suggests varied tone with the album next year.

https://soundcloud.com/warpaintwarpaint/biggy-1

Image from www.clashmusic.com 

Single Review – Warpaint – Love Is To Die

California’s Warpaint will return with their second album in 2014 which is a follow up from their 2010 debut with The Fool. That album had generally positive reviews if not spectacular but nevertheless its a pretty good base to start from. The notorious second album entitled Warpaint has its first single release with ‘Love Is To Die’. The songs starts off very sparsely and steadily and smoothly introduced elements on top of the previous. First with the subtle percussion and synths sounds and eerie vocals and then the rotating bass line gives some depth and some rhythm along with the more standard percussion to allow for the vocals to come in. The soft echo on them lets each line trickle back into the bass line groove. The backing vocals do the same while the guitar parts simply add texture rather than play a starring role. The verses are topped off with vertical like vocal progression but they fade it back in to the understated and cool feel of the song. The song never really outreaches itself but its the cool and calmness that speaks much louder in this song.

http://youtu.be/OnuFYYJHaY0

Image from www.clashmusic.com