November 2, 2010

Review: Warpaint – The Fool

Posted in Reviews tagged , at 6:29 pm by essentiallyeclectic

Warpaint – The Fool.

Pre-release hype can be a terrible burden on a debut album, its weight all too often enough to cripple its promising creators. Those that can successfully ride the accolade wave should be revered, celebrated, and then allowed to produce the telling follow-up out of the glaring headlights of the music press. Hopefully this will be the fate of LA’s Warpaint, who, two years after the release of the Exquisite Corpse EP, finally delivered their debut long player this October amid a frenzy of blog praise and broadsheet admiration.

Opener Set Your Arms Down is a slow burner; hypnotic bass chords and stop/start drums punctuate Emily Kokal’s swaying vocal, a hint of mid-‘90s desert rock, atmospheric and ominous. The stoner grooves continue into the album’s title track, before the heavily previewed Undertow announces the girls’ position as masters of languid dream-pop, a beautiful melody tied to carefully interposed guitar chords, with an exhausted sigh of “why you wanna blame me for your troubles?” Ever on the lookout for interesting ways of supplementing the band’s ethereal harmonies and the melodic guitar work of its twin six-stringers Kokal and Theresa Wayman, contrasting sections and ever-changing arrangements are combined with subtle effects, such as the modulated, wobbling acoustic in Shadows. A subtle reference to Talking Heads’ Warning Sign can be found in the drummed intro to Bees, while the slow-paced opening section of standout track Composure sees delayed chords underpin a shouted-from-a-distance refrain from the whole band.

The band’s talent lies in their ability to conjure a unique ambience from seemingly simple building blocks. Kokal successfully manages to turn quite an asinine lyric in to a touching, weary plea in Baby, while even the all-conquering Undertow could easily fall flat in the wrong hands. Warpaint deliver on the growing reputation that precedes them. Definitely believe the hype; just don’t be blinded by it.


  1. […] Warpaint – Undertow (from The Fool) […]

  2. Matthias said,

    Only the blind will see heaven….;-)

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