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CD on Rough Trade.
This man was initially unsure about what to make of the new Warpaint album. Then either my cluttered house or our chaotic office "ate" the promo, my computer with the MP3 broke so I'm streaming this from the Guardian's site. I 've not read the guys waffle. It bored me to tears after two seconds.
This new self-titled album is formed from the usual intoxicating and beautiful sounding rock like the last one - once again the songs unfurl and cascade at a languid classy pace with great dynamics and a dreamy manner. There's the occasional foray into funkier pastures but nothing to cause any alarm.
I'm keeping this fairly basic because if "The Fool" or début jaw-dropper mini-LP 'Exquisite Corpse" didn't float your boat then this eponymous second album proper is unlikely to captivate you. Their style has changed little. They've not particularly gone in for a more commercial aspect to their sound. The single 'Love is to Die" is the obvious radio-slayer here and as such leaves you feeling all warm and spangly but it is definitely the most ear-worm burrowing of the set. It plops from a great height on most of the radio fodder of late.
Flood and Nigel Godrich share production duties here but fail to improve on 'The Fool' which is no insult as that was an extraordinary suite of songs. Some may disagree and insist they'e progressed but for me it represents a more than adequate and quite beautiful sister album that re-assuringly sounds nothing other than another great Warpaint album. Their brittle, fluid way with a song; not relying on typical verse-chorus-verse tropes for the majority and instead drifting off into beautific coral reefs of lavish fantasy seductress rock realms is to be commended.
Nice to see they've collaborated with celebrated visual artist Chris Cunningham on this new project although I cannot imagine him offering up anything as stomach-bothering or plain fucked-up as his much-lauded previous oeuvre has suggested.
Overall buy on sight if you're a converted fan but if previous waxings have left you un-moved (you heartless souls) then probably choose something else with more anger or bite.
9/10 constantino_chr 15th February 2014
When Warpaint dropped 'Love Is To Die' late last year, it's haunting vocals and flawless production reminded me exactly why this quartet is so special. In the context of the album, 'Love Is To die' still sticks out, it's key changes still hit as hard and I still cannot resist tapping along to the drum beat. Prior to this track is 'Keep It Healthy', which is based on an intricate guitar which displays the band's skill. At this point I wondered what exactly they meant when they said that this album was inspired by Hip-Hop and R'n'B sounds, but as soon as the beat kicked in on track 4 'Hi', it became very clear what their influences were. The distinctly Hip-Hop beat is created by the bands ever immense rhythm section (Stella Mozgawa's stellar drumming and Jenny lee Lindberg's bass) which gels surprisingly well with Theresa Wayman and Emily Kokal's sultry vocals. Things really get weird on standout track 'Disco//Very', on this track the band truly live up to their name, the menacing opening lyric "I've got a friend in a melody, that will kill..." and it's stomping bass line, playful vocals (complete with a cheeky growl or two) and a spot of cowbell make it Warpaint's most audacious song yet.'Feeling Alright' bursts out and oozes seduction, like 'Love Is To Die' it rises, falls and glitches. The throbbing post-dub recalling beat which kicks in mid-song is one the album's many highlights. 'Drive', like it's name suggests, (as cheesy as it sounds) makes me feel as if I'm driving into the sunset on an open road on summers day, especially with the repetition of "Into the storm, into the eye". The song builds into a glorious climax with unified cries from the band. Closing track 'Son' is fragile and stripped back at first; It showcases Wayman's gentle vocals before building on a rolling drum beat and easing into a majestic end. Fitting for such an elegant album.
7/10 sam mitchell 7th February 2014
Since the first "exquisite corpse" ep, Warpaint seem to be becoming more and more dreamy and less and less tuneful, and it's easy to dismiss this new record as formless messing around. However, having had it on a loop in my car for a couple of weeks now, the songs seem to be slowly emerging and becoming recognisable, even catchy.
The guitar playing is so understated as to almost not be there, but the way that the little melodies and textures reveal themselves is probably a major factor in why I keep listening to it. There is also quite a bit of synth/drum machine stuff that seems a little too much like they just dialled up a preset (a feeling I've had about Bat For Lashes last album too, but this kind of thing seems to be a trademark of modern "production"), which is a bit disappointing considering the obvious labour put into other aspects of this album, and is a bit of a contrast to the electronics all over "the fool", which to my ears is a better sounding record in terms of recording than this one.
Overall a pleasant listen, almost a "Warpaint in dub" kind of experience, with plenty of points where individual instruments are absent from the mix, words trail off into the ether, and ambience is more important than impact.
6/10 CFM 18th January 2014What I’ve always loved about Warpaint was there rather obscure tracks and Emily Kokal’s close to cracking up vocals. I started to have growing concerns for this new release when Theresa Wayman stated that previous albums were "totally crammed" with "too much instrumentation” and “We leant towards things we thought were sexier”. Whatever this means? What… you are trying to replace Barry White? Rave reactions on YouTube to ‘love is to die’ with its key change chorus left me rather under impressed as it just went nowhere. This release has has stripped out the guitars leaving vocals, bass and drums to carry the songs. The guitar dingles in and out on many tracks although largely has been replaced with synthesizer such as the track ‘Hi’ where drum kit is also replaced with drum machine. Feeling Alright is possibly the best track where this works extremely well with its dubstep bass line which leads lead into the more obscure CC and Drive. Unlike Warpaint's previous releases there seems to be little urgency and rawness. It’s like the band have thought way too long over the songs. Most of the album is therefore a muted affair, no real emotional edgy vocals and guitar playing that is very much restrained. It does grow on you but I’m sure opinions will be divided on the new direction. It maybe better produced and some will see this as a progression in the band but I’d say nothing comes close to matching the brilliance of Majesty, Beetles or Elephants In the end Warpaint have produced an album which is rather too easy listening. Their transition to working with synthesizers does not come without problems as too many times songs have good ideas, are technically executed but lack anything that will remotely stir your senses.
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