Warpaint - The Fool Album Review


Review of The Fool Album by Warpaint

I have not seen a 'Smash Hits' style interview with Warpaint as yet so unfortunately I cannot let you know what their favourite cereal is. (I'd guess it's not Alpen). I don't know what they consider the best films, songs or actors, which flavour ice-cream they'd choose or whether they prefer salted or sweet popcorn. I have however seen video footage and I have heard and heard and heard the new album. So without wishing to be too presumptuous here are Warpaint and The Fool as I hear them in an adapted multi-choice/third party/unauthorised biography sort of way.................

Warpaint The Fool Album

More Sofia Coppola than James Cameron, more Tom Sawyer than Tom Cruise. American Graffiti but not necessarily American Gangster. Green and purple rather than red and blue. BMX and Skateboards over Rollerblades and Mountain Bikes. BudLite not MillerLite, although maybe Camel over Marlboro. JD given the option of JD and Jim Beam. Indonesia before Ibiza. Leonard Cohen, Jack Keruak, Walt Whitman, Jackson Pollock and Edward Hopper. Cecil Beaton before Cecil B D Mille. Sean Penn beats Sean Bean, Susan Sarandon beats Susan Boyle and Ben & Jerry's tops Haagen Dazs! Renaissance and Realist before Abstract or Cubist and Camp Fire not Frat Party......

Have you got it yet? Do I need to actually comment on the music? ..............Well as it's so deserving I think I must. (Best Band of 2010.......so say the Sun! Sorry to be a bit of a snob, musically, or otherwise, but yes that would normally sit somewhat uneasily with me too. Seems they can't get it wrong all the time though.)

The Fool by Warpaint is by far one of the best albums you are likely to hear this year, and it's their debut full length feature. The depth and texture of 10 tracks are fabulously both complex and simple in equal measure, almost instantly likeable but multifaceted at the same time. What you heard first time around only becomes amplified and enhanced by discovery of new, often very subtle, layers that build up to make each track a perfectly packaged slice of slightly folksy Indie, or Art-Rock/Psychedelic Ghettotech! if you prefer the publicity tag lines.

The four piece Californian band have been steadily bubbling to the surface through years of L.A gigging, some recent celeb endorsements and a very favourably received debut EP, 'Exquisite Corpse' produced by RHCP's John Frusciante. Having been signed up to Rough Trade and enlisted the very particular talents of Siouxsie Sioux and Andrew Weatherall (Provider of Simon Mayo's backing track for many years!) for additional mixing the Hippy at heart quartet have delivered a sublime treasure in The Fool.

Immerse yourself in the deep warm waters of tropically bordered misty lakes and landscapes of disappearing horizons. The fantastically mesmeric opener 'Set Your Arms Down' swirls and sways through guitar jangles and tribal drum beats melding the soft vocals against the recurrent Felt like backdrop. Somewhat reminiscent of Laura Viers, the haunting harmonisation is both sensual and powerful. Warpaint by Warpaint follows on with a very Ginderman like first few bars leading into a two part vocal from Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman. By this stage, baring some unforeseen catastrophe, you already know how good this album is likely to be.

The recent single Undertow is up next. Actress Shannyn Sossamon, the original drummer in the band, shot the video to accompany the track that sympathetically visualises the lovelorn tale. The sumptuous velvety tones pitch and purr alongside the deep, sometimes funky, highly original bass line and neat percussive treatments. Undertow also highlights the bands prowess at pairing their succinct and vivid lyrics against a marvellously luscious musical arrangement........

"Your brown eyes and light blue skies,

they light up the rivers that the birds fly over.

Better not to quench your thirst,

better not to be the first one.......... diving in,

though you caught me and you know why."

'Bees', could it be a Creatures tune? has a more offset rhythm pattern and less fluid composition. The angular guitar work fights with the honey doused vocals giving rise to a more intense and uneasy sonic experience. Shadows continues the variety of The Fool, initially with a more stripped back arrangement that also sees drummer Stella Mozgawa on Keyboards. Preceding a track of true beauty, 'Composure' sees some Wall like playground angst vocalised to great effect.

'Baby' is the most folksy, acoustic and reflective number on The Fool. The simplicity and tenderness of the song are very emotive and strikingly effective. "Don't you ever call anybody else baby, 'cos I'm your baby still." Sung with an almost sinister calm the narrative is obviously real and heartfelt. In, "You live your life like a page from the book of my fantasy." Baby also has hands down the best line of the album.

The looping synthetic undercurrent on Majesty and traditional piano of Lissie's Heart Murmur close out the album in perfectly contrasting styles. What has tied it all together is the wonderful voices, the accomplished song writing, great arrangements and deft production.

The Fool by Warpaint is a fabulous debut that not only delivers in its own right but also makes you wonder what will come next. If you've been lucky enough to catch them recently with the XX you'll probably need little convincing that Warpaint are definitely not your average four piece Indie guitar band. If you've not been so lucky at least check out Undertow and Baby, they're worth the album price alone.

Andrew Lockwood.

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