Warpaint – 'Warpaint' album review

LA's spookiest group return with a beguiling LP for lights-off listening

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Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5


‘Hi’, ‘Son’, ‘Disco//very’, ‘Biggy’: the tracklist for Warpaint’s second LP feels like a cryptic message – a code to be cracked. Well, that won’t be easy. ‘Warpaint’ is a dark, smoke-filled room of an album, offering many unexpected pleasures, but no easy answers.

Three years after the four-piece LA group released their brilliant debut ‘The Fool’, their narcotic sound has only become deeper, darker and more impenetrable. This self-titled follow-up is still informed by psych-rock, folk and post-punk, but now those influences hang in the sonic slow-motion of dub. ‘Warpaint’ is a series of stripped-down, spaced-out, subdued jams, with rumbling percussion, melodic basslines and synths, cascading guitars and eerie, psychedelic vocal echoes. It sounds incredible, like it was recorded in a haunted cave.

The lyrics, when they surface, are unsettling too, from shellshocked murmurs on ‘Drive’ (‘I could drive myself crazy… I want to stay inside these visions’) to blood-curdling chants on ‘Disco//very’: ‘We’ll kill you, rip you up and tear you in two!’

Above all, though, Warpaint’s aggression is about stubbornly refusing to do the expected. ‘Teese’, for instance, is a masterclass in control and tension that flirts with crescendo, but never puts out.

Sometimes sweet, always sexy and often downright scary, ‘Warpaint’ is a thoroughly intoxicating listen. Just don’t try to fathom its enigma – it’s bottomless.


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  1. Henham Park Southwold, Suffolk, NR34 8AN
  2. Thu Jul 16 - Sun Jul 19
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