Looking to avoid the trappings of redundancy, Warpaint waited four long years to release the follow up to The Fool, gambling with creative purgatory in these internet flash times. But it paid off. In that span they discovered exactly how to mesh the subtle nuances of collaborative writing with the ambitions they had sonically. The result, when compared to their hard lined debut, is something that can be compared to an impressionistic painting, where borders are smudged in favor of a more transient feel.
The emotional odyssey packed into the album unfolds slowly, ambiguously and at a tempered pace like they’re giving you a guided tour of that space between being awake and dreaming. That feeling is marked so effectively because the crafty ways in which they manipulate genres – hip-hop, folk and electronica amongst others -never extending their welcome too long, and injecting just the right amount of groove. Love is the buoy that keeps the narrative afloat here and just when it reaches the shores of monotony they gracefully bow out leaving a tie-dye of emotions to relive over and over again.
According to the gospel of War, a healthy lifestyle includes ruminating over the possible origins of life. For as abstract as that sounds – with detached breaks, reservoirs of synth and basslines serving as fodder – it’s still very clear in its promotion of rich and meaningful connections:
Nothing says I love you like the cold shaky hand of death, a refreshing take that embraces all sides of love. The simple, straight forward rhythm – both airy and light – create a welcoming slate for heart’s to be poured out over. Painful yes, but enough a groove to shimmy and shake those tears away:
Anatomically, a totally different direction: heavy on the boom-bap like they dined with Bjork and Dabrye before hitting the recording booth. It’s a hodgepodge of styles with love and connection being at the center of it all. Close behind, however, is the looming possibility of heartbreak:
Unfortunately no, not the Biggie Smalls tribute track we had so longed for. In its place a declaration of emotional vulnerability aimed at softening ridged perceptions of love and loss. It’s matched up well with a chilling, Sade-esque groove, which snakes about in entrancing, raqs sharqi fashion:
Quite possibly the greatest love song ever written about a grilled cheese sandwich. If not, then another delicate stroke from an ensemble that seems to be settling into their own, particularly here where they are unafraid to ask for the one thing that in the end makes them the most vulnerable:
Marching in stride with the Slits – with a little bit of Thom Yorke thrown in for good measure – an intermission is struck where playful musings give way to a full on attempt at your life. Weaved into the fabric are menacing threats, and words are far from minced as they aim straight for the gonads:
Those delicate first steps into a relationship can be tricky, which is a better time than any to apply a little Warpaint. Lyrically it’s simple, a whisper in the dark almost, yet it’s the juxtaposition to the psychedelic odyssey that ends the song that turns a ho-hum chorus line into something more:
Fading in and out of a dreamlike state, a chance encounter occurs between love and hate. Like quarreling lovers the two emotions collide ferociously, but suddenly – via ethereal melodies and earthy percussion – a newfound perspective emerges, embracing the notion that from chaos comes order:
The rhythm section shines again, laying the groundwork for rows upon rows of towering emotions. An air of conflict consumes the atmosphere, but as the title suggests a desire to indulge grows with ever slash across the heart. There’s a droning element that saturates the feel with primal urges:
The most pop friendly song on the album – at least from a sonic standpoint – is also the most appropriate way to ease out of a project so thick with emotion. The chanting chorus, which rides the crest of a lush, tidal wave of synth, serve as a gentle nudge as to not cause a rude awakening:
Between the soft drum roll and tempered piano riff Warpaint couldn’t have chose a better way to close the album. It’s the type of ending that isn’t too abrupt as it leaves a mark like a sweet dream. The overall feeling says goodbye, but the words suggest a reunion is already in the works: