Warpaint’s eponymous second album is all about space. It’s textured, uncluttered and a melodic ebb and flow takes hold. Sonically more ambitious, more definitive than their critically acclaimed debut The Fool,Warpaint deliver on their apparently unlimited potential without compromising on their sound.
“Love is to Die” is an unsurprising choice as lead-off single. As close to The Fool as anything else on the album, it rumbles along with Jenny Lee Lindberg’s magisterial bass tone, haunting vocals and sparse guitar lines. ‘Love is to die/Why don’t you not die/Why don’t you dance/Why don’t you dance/And dance/And dance/And dance’ are about as unsympathetic as lyrics come, but the Warpaint message is clear. Dancing is what they do, and the rhythm section of Lindberg and drummer Stella Mozgawa provides a hypnotic groove throughout. They now share a raised platform onstage, and this pedestal is something extremely hard to argue with. Lindberg, like former Interpol bassist Carlos Dengler, showcases a masterful dexterity and melodic intuition, grounding the entire album with an almost incomprehensible moody-disco tone.
Their talents are best showcased by the slow-burning and intense “Biggy” and the woozy daydream of “Teese”, which also sees founding members and lifetime best-friends Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman exchange gorgeous vocal harmonies. The juxtaposition of moody, intense rhythms and heartfelt vocals has always been in the Warpaint DNA, but now, with synths more prominent (and even piano on final track “Son”), they have a sound that reaches even further into emotional depths.
The instrumental opening track, ambitiously titled “Intro”, encapsulates the entire album in just under two minutes; Warpaint are showing off. The brooding atmosphere is initially broken by Mozgawa messing up her intricate drum pattern (“AH! Sorry!”) before the whole thing is up and running again in moments. The dark, addictive ambience of the song showcases Warpaint at their most captivating. When it is followed by “Keep it Healthy”, it initially sounds as though the same song is regenerating once more. This subtle echoing means the album as a whole has an undeniable cohesive quality; rather than a collection of singles, Warpaint have you in the palm of their hand for the full-length of the LP. In the frustrating age of people with 200 artists on their iPod, and only 300 songs (all singles), they are a rare breed. Download the whole album or don’t bother at all. And dance. And dance. And dance.By Kyle Picknell