Warpaint ‘The Fool’ – Review

30 Oct

I can’t remember such a rich year for female acts, some of the best albums this year have been made by women. Following on from Beach House, She and Him, Best Coast, Rose Elinor Dougall, Dum Dum Girls, Joanna Newson, Sleigh Bells, The Like, Marina and the Diamonds etc etc is the debut album by Warpaint, a young group from LA whose early e.p was produced by Red Hot Chili Pepper, John Fruiscante.

Warpaint have a very unique sound that combines strange harmonies with psychedelic production. Early singles including ‘Billie Holiday’ and ‘Elephants’ set the template but those songs aren’t on here, instead there are nine brand new tunes. ‘The Fool’ is familiar and yet exotic at the same time, almost like a collection of recently discovered songs by your favourite band. The excellent ‘Baby’ features a nod to ‘Long, Long, Long’ by The Beatles and it’s impossible not to hear Jefferson Airplane on a couple of these tracks. Overall the songs are more mellow and soothing than I was expecting, particularly in the second half, but this is very welcome as the songs are so strong (some of these have been in the works for a few years so you would expect them to be up to scratch).

The melodies and lyrics have hidden textures and meanings that only reveal themselves over repeated listens, so whilst a track like ‘Majesty’ may seem simple enough, it’s actually quite complex. There isn’t much instant value in this music, I can’t see any of these songs translating well to radio (even the brilliant ‘Undertow’), this is an album that requires your concentration. Therefore this is a fairly tough album to like at first, the band have a tendency to make sharp turns just as you’re getting into a song, and occasionally it all gets a bit too indulgent and spaced out. Given time though these tunes really set up camp in your head and they are impossible to evict.

Overall this is a traditional ‘album’ in the real sense of the word, nine songs that sit alongside each other very well, played by four musicians who know each other inside out. Warpaint have built up a lot of hype and I never really got why, but now I do. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this so much but consider me pleasantly surprised, ‘The Fool’ is an excellent debut and if it keeps growing on me at the rate it is doing then it could be a favourite by the end of the year.



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