After seeing these ladies play at ACL I was quite impressed. Despite playing for a small crowd early Sunday morning they managed to bring their quiet girl indie sound to the outdoor setting rather well, heightening my excitement for this album. Their sound is a mixture of psychedelic guitars with female vocals that vary from hushed to super strong, over the course of the whole album, as well as even in just one song.
Warpaint starts off with “Set Your Arms Down,” which begins in a slow sort of fashion moseys along, drum beats feeling very stop and go, but glued together by the meandering vocals until the build comes and the drums begin to roll faster and the murmurs of lyrics build – in unison at some parts and mismatching in others—and just when it seems that the band is about to spiral out of control the song is reeled in and transitions to the next song. Warpaint demonstrates their ability to form a complete and total song that may take you many places, but in the end they bring you back home.
They continue this journey in “Undertow,” the pre-released single, in which it feels as though Warpaint is asking us those questions of bitterness. The lead vocalist has a certain real feeling about her voice that makes you believe what she is singing; these are not just words, but rather a series of confessions. Perhaps the subtle imperfections, or the rawness on some notes is what gives the song this vibe. Whatever it is about this song, it certainly conveys the idea that they are not just a girl band, but one that wants, and should, be taken seriously.
Almost as if nodding to their name, “Composure” starts out with an echoed group chant in the background. Then the band moves the song abruptly, the whole beat is basically stopped, to a faster pace. In this transition they add more intricate guitar work, and a new song is born instantaneously. After dabbling into this new groovier pace for the majority of the song they slowly dive back into the chant, bringing the tune full circle. The album then sways smoothly into “Baby,” in which the soft flow of ooh’s and the delicate vocals add onto the gentle guitar plucking to give the song it’s simplistic lullaby shell and the melancholy tone.
For only a nine track album, it seems as though you have been taken everywhere by this band. They start you off with thicker slow movers such as “Warpaint”, lighten things up with faster, more danceable tunes like “Bees” an then bring it home with songs that combine these qualities, which makes The Fool such an enticing album. Warpaint exhibits all the aspects of a girl group without coming across as too sugary. There is a bite to their sweetness that prevents this album from being a one note dud, but instead a precision piece. I look forward to future efforts from this group.