When Warpaint first hit the scene with The Fool back in 2011, they had the same slightly perturbing air to their sound that Sam Fogarino of Interpol was referring to when he described hearing the Pixies for the first time: “I felt vile, then I felt violated, then I thought it was the most brilliant fucking thing since sliced bread and that hasn’t changed because it’s ageless music and that’s a very rare thing to stumble upon.”
However, Warpaint were less slicing-up-eyeballs about their violating sound and simply operated as proponents of the rarefied reaches of atmosphere captured in the amber of sound. Over ten years on, that cannon of undertone has taken a trip to the beach and the Vitamin D has given their music a freshness that defies the pallid complexion of their previous efforts.
The sound of the record itself reflects the trip to more sanguine climes with a sparser sound filled with delay pedal overtures and a rumbling rhythm section that seamlessly washes ashore. That creates an atmosphere that is far from thunderous, and sometimes the listener may drift away from the waterline of engagement, but the band are smart enough to keep production flourishes up their sleeve to drag you back out from the shade into their sultry saunter.
This approach is, in part, evidentially informed by the recording performance itself. Due to the pandemic, the band recorded their elements individually, thus, to keep things tight and coherent, they had to keep things simple. However, when they do get complex, it imbues the sound with a fitting jazzy feel and the lack of cuts in the tape should satisfy even the most stringent audiophile.
Much like the amorphous sound of the record itself, there are times when the songwriting swirls in and out of focus. Sometimes the words seem to be there merely to uphold the melody, but on tracks like ‘Send Nudes’ the poetry and playfulness of the band mingle with purpose and a wry smile in the direction of modern culture.
Naturally, with Warpaint being Warpaint, this trip to the sunnier side of town is not without the threat of an evening rainstorm on the horizon – we’re not talking about The Beach Boys here – but they do share a similar ear for layering sounds. It just so happens that sonically on this occasion they break through the density of cloud cover and offer up a sparse, azure effort that might be more wispy but it’s a welcome break all the same.
You can check out the album below.