(New Album Review) Warpaint- Warpaint

I’m starting off the year with a band I’ve encountered before: Warpaint.

Dismal , sensual, with a sound that wanders around quite a lot, weaving pretty vocal melodies through morose punk-influenced rock, Warpaint are one of the better examples of the modern post-punk sound. The name Warpaint is sort of a giveaway to what they’re after: a somewhat sexualized, dark, very percussive post-punk. For many people, this is exactly what they want from music. I’ll be honest though… only a few songs in, I found myself putting on some Big Youth.  I was getting a little too depressed.

I really liked “Hi”, a dubby ballad with some keyboard textures that juxtapose well with the velvety, sinister vocals and bassline. This new album is light on guitars, and mostly driven by keyboard riffs and eerie mixing effects.  In songs like “Drive”, the vocal harmonies get truly gorgeous. What interests me most about Warpaint is the fact that they obviously have something of a progressive approach to music. Like some of the artier-sounding post-hardcore bands, or a particularly dark post-punk band, it’s a progressive approach that stays firmly within the confines of a certain sound, but it’s experimentation nonetheless. I can imagine these gals being an impressive live act, with, if not very much improvisation, at least some extended takes on these songs.

There’s oftentimes a slightly frail sincerity to Emily Kokal’s lyrics and vocals as well. After all, we don’t all just like Joy Division because they were sexy and aloof-looking, right? And we like the Doors, too, because there’s a little bit of the sadness of life in there along with all the tormented-poet poetry that attracts most of us. Warpaint ultimately become a little oppressive from their continual lyrical-harping-on over soured relationships and anti-social introspection, but they are certainly dead-serious. Warpaint are a dark-and-sexy rock band with substance.

I can see just from quick browsing around that this album is already starting to get mediocre reviews. Is it because this isn’t a debut, and Warpaint are no longer a true buzzband? It’s sort of a shame, really. It’s a genuinely interesting album from a decent band. My year in listening is off to a good start.


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