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Warpaint weave intricate guitar lines,hypnotic vocals and driving post punk rhythms into gorgeous, sprawling songs that skirt the line between psychedelia and intimacy. Both live and on record, Warpaint sound like they're channelling something truly otherworldly, mystical. The Fool is their utterly mesmeric debut full-length album roduced and mixed by Tom Biller (Liars, Jon Brion, Sean Lennon) in Los Angeles, with further mixes from Andrew Weatherall (Bjork, My Bloody Valentine, Primal Scream) and Adam Samuels (John Frusciante, Daniel Lanois).
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A Los Angeles quartet dealing in sparse, atmospheric art rock, Warpaint originally consisted of the highly regarded screen actress Shannyn Sossamon and her sister Jenny Lee Lindberg (on drums & bass respectively), as well as Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman on vocal and guitar. Sossamon left due to conflicts with her acting schedule and was replaced by Stella Mozgawa. There songs often establish a meandering, atmospheric guitar grooves that are a sharp contrast to the their delicate otherworldly vocal arrangements. Unfortunately "The Fool" wasn't released until the end of October, so this worthy album wasn't included on the notable 2010 music lists of many cultural opinion makers. "The Fool" did make the Top 10 Albums of 2010 at my own humble music blog at the Music Banter forum. NPR also gave "The Fool" an honorable mention on it's year end summary.
You may also want to check out Warpaint's earlier self produced EP, "Exquisite Corpse" which contains the spellbinding song "Billie Holiday" which is my favorite Warpaint song to date.
I've been told that "The Fool" doesn't quite capture the power of their mesmerizing live performances, so I'll have to buy the ticket and check this band out when and if they make a tour stop in my town. Meanwhile, I can't say enough good things about Warpaint's debut album on Rough Trade. I've played it constantly on my WMP jukebox and Zune portable player over the past two months.
Set Your Arms Down
Lissie's Heart Murmur
Flowing, majestic, occasionally sharp for only a brief instant before it dissapates into a melody (such as standout tracks Undertow and Shadows). PJ Harvey,The Sundays and Cocteau Twins are in here, although the music certainly stands alone from it's influences. Songs such as Baby even channel a little Hope Sandoval, from the Mazzy Star days.
The production is top notch. Instruments layered with swirling vocals, harmonizing but without being too bright or bubbly. Subdued but effective and driving drumwork.
My only desire unmet is an odd one...a raucous , straight forward, rocking tune somewhere on this album. Just a throwback song, without the multi-layered production. I only ask because it's obvious to me that this band could seriously kick out the jams if they wanted to. I realize it wouldn't go with the concept or sound of this album at all but you can hear it in there, just dying to get out (as in the opening bass line from Composure)
Opener 'Set Your Arms Down' really sets the mood. Ethereal vocals under a stark bass line soon followed by chiming guitar notes that build and build until breaking into a percussive climax. Seductive stuff. And the following songs follow suit, all independent of each other but containing arty time and rhythm changes anchored by the lovely ladies' echoey vocals.
This debut deserves some attention.