In the space of two records, Emily Kokal, Theresa Wayman, Jenny Lee Lindberg and Stella Mozgawa have established themselves as one of the most vital bands to emerge out of America this side of the Millennium. Bandying around those kind of claims normally teeters on the precipice of hyberbole, or a WONGA advert minus the dodgy small-print. In the case of Warpaint, it’s simple. They may have been squirrelled away crafting their second album for almost four years, but meanwhile ‘The Fool’ super glued itself onto stereos, and Warpaint built up a fierce live reputation, long after everyone forgot about all the Best Of 2010 lists. It really does feel like Warpaint never disappeared, and this second album confirms that they are going from strength to consistent strength.
There’s some secret little element whizzing and orbiting around inside Warpaint’s chemical make-up, a rare little thing that can overcome logic and turn Litmus paper fifty different shades of blue, red and purple. Their subtle handle of tone is magical. One minute ‘Teese’ is quietly chiming and intoxicating, and then ‘Disco // Very’ suddenly drags copper pipes across rough concrete floors, and welds rhythm and unsettling sound together into a gargantuan, clanking industrial monster. Warpaint’s creation might feed on the blood of moody, swampy post-punk, but it ingests it and mangles it all into something self-sufficient, and unmistakable.
Flood’s influence is clear, too, and paired with Warpaint, he has the Midas touch. Mark Ellis is responsible for helping to shape Nine Inch Nails’ ‘The Downward Spiral’, Smashing Pumpkins’ ‘Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness’, and countless other iconic records, and on ‘Warpaint’, every bass line pounds round your chest cavity like you’re stood in front of a Was 3000. ‘The Fool’ was wonderfully muddied and submerged, while ‘Warpaint’ zooms for the stratosphere. ‘Love Is To Die’ is absolutely saturated with texture, but also seems to have infinite breathing space. The production on this album is remarkable.
Also remarkable are the endless nuances Warpaint capture – listening to this is like looking down a kaleidoscope of swirling masses that clash and morph together effortlessly. Multitudes and wispy plumes in a thousand hues ooze out of every shape, simultaneously angsty, ethereal, shadowy, heavenly, dreamy, nightmarish, and unmistakably belonging to Warpaint. Get taken away by the current, and float inside every melody. It’s more intoxicating than even the most lucrative bar deal on Jägerbombs.
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