20. Warpaint – The Fool

Breaking into your senses. But with subtlety.

Art-rock, psych-rock, dream-rock. How to describe Warpaint? My view is that Warpaint are simply a band like no other, generating a sound like no other. This decade saw them release three excellent albums, maturing with each one. My own personal favourite though, remains The Fool. Following on the heels of their debut EP, Exquisite Corpse , The Fool elegantly weaved its way into the senses, rather than kicking the door down. Turns out that’s the Warpaint way.

At the top, dancing fleetingly over the melodies are the gossamer threads of guitar codas of Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman. And meandering around them, playing a Rickenbacker bass that looks bigger than her, Jenny Lee Lindberg’s grooves meander everywhere, like a crawling king snake coiling its way around your senses and gradually taking grip. And at the core we have the drumming of Stella Mozgawa – so intuitive, so jazzy as it holds the entire body of work together like knitting needles fashioning a ball of wool.

That chemistry never sounds better than it does on Shadows. There’s definitely something unsettling going on here, with beats that seem slightly out of step. It all serves to hypnotise the listener, to draw them in deeper. That’s a theme that runs throughout the entire album, particularly on Undertow.

Undertow sounds like you imagine it would. All ebbs and flows and tidal currents that suck you under the waves whilst Kokal and Wayman ask “what’s the matter; you hurt yourself?” They don’t sound that concerned, to be frank. Like a pair of sirens, they draw you in to the waves, deeper and deeper. You know it’s harmful, but hey, who cares?

Warpaint’s sound is swampy yet featherlight. Disjointed, yet in perfect harmony. Always contradictory. But that’s what makes them one of the most interesting bands to emerge this decade.

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