No matter where you are, listening to Warpaint’s debut album, The Fool, will create the illusion that you are boxed inside an echoic chamber. Haunting vocals, sensual basslines, sultry drum beats and creeping, overlapping guitar riffs combine to form a dreamy, atmospheric haze.
The experimental art rock quartet hailing from Los Angeles also weaves together lush harmonies, courtesy of three female vocalists. The instrumentation is often sparse, getting fuller as the song progresses. The juxtaposition of soft vocals against the harsher bass and guitar tones results in a darker, brooding vibe, as can be heard in Majesty.
Official music video for Undertow.
The first single off the album, Undertow, demonstrates Warpaint’s ability to create different textures within a single song; from its chillwave-tinged beginning, it gradually builds until vocalist Emily Kokal’s crooning erupts into wailing, and the song becomes an almost ethereal experience.
While many of Warpaint’s songs flirt with sounds of dischord, the beautiful and raw Baby stands out as a lullaby, consisting of only gorgeous layered vocals that rise and fall in rounds and a gently-plucked acoustic guitar. The lyrics are as intimate as the music that supports them: “Don’t you call anybody else baby, ’cause I’m your baby still. / … You speak your fears, thinking in circles and checking what mirrors don’t see. / You live your life like a page from the book of my fantasy.”
If you fancy psychedelic, rhythmic, slightly syncopated music that is sometimes animalistic and other times softly hypnotic, with honest yet vaguely cryptic lyrics, then Warpaint’s stunning debut will have you captivated from the first listen.