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Warpaint – Warpaint – SXSW 2014

Warpaint, the all-woman indie-rock quartet from Los Angeles are back with their self-titled sophomore effort. Produced by the Flood (U2, Foals), with additional help on a few tunes by Nigel Godrich (Radiohead), Warpaint sees the band picking up essentially where the debut album, 2010’s The Fool, leaves off.  By adding Aussie percussionist Stella Mozgawa shortly after The Fool was written, they solidified their lineup, allowing bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg to develop a rhythmic connection with the new drummer and push their lush sound landscapes to a new level.

On Warpaint, the wispy, delay-induced guitars and ghostly layered vocals return, but with a cleaner, more concise drive behind them.  Still playing with the late 90’s post OK Computer tones and ambience, the record also finds them perfecting the artsy psychedelia they played with on The Fool


Many get bored, or saw them as a passing fad, thinking that this effort is more of a rehash, a dreamy shoegaze one-off by Hollywoood connected scenesters, but I think it’s more akin to a dope pair of longjohns getting overwashed to the point of nearly falling apart, or a hoodie getting broken in.  It’s familiar and all too recognizable but that’s what makes it not only palatable, but tasty. They’ve just become more inclined to bettering their washed-out haze than changing it in for something entirely different.  By listening to a lot of R&B and hip-jop during recording, and experimenting with drum machines, they’ve managed to do just that.  Pushing their sound forward with subtle tweaks and influences, rather than smashing down barriers and completely forging a new direction.

Much like film, I think critics and fans alike put too much emotional and analytical investment into these popular artistic platforms. If these folks/critics are not completely transformed on a spiritual level, they slam an artistic effort regardless of how deep, or shallow, it may be.  Sometimes records, or films, are just meant to be simply enjoyed, to sit back and digested for what they’re worth.  Warpaint may indeed be The Fool 2.0, but if, like me, that’s the sound you fell in love with, so how can that be a bad thing?

As of this posting, Warpaint are touring the U.K. and Europe, with plans to return to SXSW where they first emerged as a ‘buzz band’ in 2012, and then head out to U.S. cities with Cate Le Bon.

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