, January 16th, 2014 12:43
Mixing 60s wall-of-sound baroque pop, shoegaze otherworldliness, Sub Pop slackerdom, garage pyschedelia, R&B hookiness and ketamine hip-hop, each Warpaint release to date has been blessed with a quiet confidence. Talking to The Guardian, Theresa Wayman said of the new long player Warpaint that this time around “We leant towards things we thought were sexier.” Warpaint have always been sexy though. There's been an irresistible twilight, road movie grind to their music, all half-asleep grooves and stoned humping. It isn't something this band has ever been afraid of, but in Warpaint, they've mastered the mid-tempo come-on, being to indie rock what Aaliyah was to R&B.
Sonically, many of the songs exude an intense, intoxicated arousal, with lip-fattening blood rushes, grotty cinematic witching-hour horniness and David Lynchian daydream fucks. It sounds a bit far-fetched, but in an age when guitar-based music has become almost entirely devoid of libido, Warpaint have given everyone a timely reminder that rock & roll's lifeblood is in the groin and, even if you're not talking about sex (or the lack of it), the music should be carnal, as so effectively captured by PJ Harvey or Nine Inch Nails.
Warpaint's seductive grooves are what have won them fans outside the indie universe. The RZA has championed their rhythm section while Justin Timberlake swooned about how they sound like “giant, tingling swigs of scotch in a dark corner.” With the legendary Flood at the mixing desk, and Jenny Lee's husband Chris Cunningham documenting their time recording in The Joshua Tree, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Warpaint are on the brink of U2 pomposity. However, with the hype, the band have stepped back, become more distant (you won't find them having publicity beefs with other bands on Twitter) and started to edge toward a medicated funk of bands like The Electric Prunes, The Charlatans (the American ones) and Cocteau Twins, coupled with the clicky, woozy rhythms of Kendrick Lamar or Ciara. Yet disparate as their influences may be, 'Warpaint' is four women working as one heart.
In tracks like 'Biggy' and 'Teese', are heard the echoes of Ciara's 'Body Party' or Jhene Aiko's dreamier work, while in 'Disco/Very' and 'Love Is To Die', they beef things up, still in the k-hole, but with a more mechanical funk. From the Boards of Canada-ish 'Intro' right through to the mangled delta-balladry of 'Go In' to the digital soul of 'Drive', This is a record spun with a rich synthetic ambience, resulting in a curious mixture of the pleasant and uneasy.
If Warpaint aren't careful, they're going to end up with fans more evangelical than The Smiths, and they probably deserve such love - for here they've mastered the record-collector's slow jam.