In 2010, I managed to catch Warpaint’s first European show at a very teeny club called the Luminaire on Kilburn High Road in North London. It had been two years since the band self-released their debut EP and here they were, playing a long awaited show in a dingy bar to a curious horde of snobby Brits. All they had to go on for the evening were the six tracks on Exquisite Corpse and a few demos of what would eventually make it onto The Fool. Their supernatural rock captivated the crowd with its raw psychedelic undercurrent, exhibiting with it the band’s skillful improvised dynamics that has since proved one of their many alluring traits. With the success of the EP and consequential cult following, The Fool would make Warpaint a potently original weight for indie rock: “The queens of the underground” in bold slapped next to a mug shot on the cover of an NME issue.
Warpaint’s music has always adopted a perfect unpredictability and this new album urges this forward with even greater force. Just the slightest of turns in melody or dynamic and the guitar that was po-going around a single riff can spring you somewhere else altogether, somewhat rewarding you for your patient wait. This brilliant disjointedness has the music flow in to seemingly accidental avenues that slip over the listener like gleaming, sticky syrup. To sit back and attempt to strip its graft reveals a beautiful labor to Warpaint that reasserts one of the bands most enthralling qualities. What’s even more striking about the album is the intensified beauty their music adopts whilst balancing the raw power they’ve nursed with previous releases, nudging the listener on the shoulder and then whispering in they’re ear.
The marching guitar duets reel you along before splitting erratically into colourful cut patterns; vanishing to dust at the stroke of a beat. It’s like tripping over a beautiful lady in the street and before you look up she’s gone, escaping your grasp before you can fix your gaze. This threshold the group have over their second full-length release indicates an admirable maturity to a thoroughly progressive inventiveness in the four years since The Fool. It cements the four-piece as proprietors of beautifully original guitar music but also as tranquil experimental scholars, observing a subtle affectation to electronica that varnishes tracks like “Biggy” and “Drive.” This delicate electronic prying is new and marvellously implemented- like pouring warm custard over your already sticky, syrup-coated dessert to total an indulgent sugary goodness.
Warpaint was released January 17th via Rough Trade.