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It’s been over three years since brooding LA art-rockers Warpaint blessed us with their stunning debut album The Fool. An auspicious and emphatic statement, that album proved that this was a band set on doing things right, and their self-titled second album only reinforces that creative integrity. Warpaint have harnessed enough big names and enough new textures to create something perfectly entrancing on album number two, even if it doesn’t quite reach the charms of their debut.
Warpaint is a smoky, spidery and delicate album, yet it’s also muscular, tight and intensely emotive. It teases out the band’s post-punk and dream-pop sensibilities with understated guitars and shadowy electronics, yet it also plays with hip-hop rhythms, as on the cutely-titled Hi, and jarring, calculated key-changes, as on lead single Love Is To Die.
The band’s centrepiece is Australian-born drummer Stella Mozgawa, whose talents are often placed atop the mix, distancing her from the rest of the band, most notably on Intro and Feeling Alright. When she is placed at the very bottom, it’s to support some subtler, acoustic work, like Teese and Drive.
The album boasts plenty of notables. There’s master-producer/mixer Mark Ellis aka Flood, best known for his work with PJ Harvey and New Order, and co-mixer Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Atoms For Peace, Ultraísta). There’s also Warpaint guitarist Jenny Lee Lindberg‘s filmmaker husband Chris Cunningham, known for his IDM video art, who contributed a forthcoming documentary detailing the album’s genesis, complete with a remix of the album as its soundtrack.
Warpaint’s self-titled full-length is a deserving canvas for these more-than-capable hands. It’s a nuanced record about love, mortality, sleep, confusion and certainty.