I know this is an EP, but this is among the strongest debut EP's that I have ever heard. I've heard many debut albums and extended plays over the years, none of which come close to this. I first listened back in 2009, at the time nothing really sticked in my mind, but as time went by, I began listening more thoroughly, then it started to click. Warpaint are a band ready to take on the world, they're aching to write ultimate hits and score innovative material for future releases. Debut album The Fool, was a disappointment, but it still has several strong songs and musical improvements. It lacked character and time for the band to progress naturally, call it rushed if you will, it's still a very strong album.
Dream Pop indulgence is instantly felt as the opening track 'Stars' sets the pace and sound. People have compared the sound to The XX.. And I can see this comparison to an extent. The minimal aspects are visible, but the attention to detail and pure musicianship shines through with Warpaint. The XX can cut a decent track and melody, but this material takes years of practise and that's exactly what Warpaint did.
The energetic and beautiful 'Elephants' is an elegant, Psychedelic track with dynamics and variations. It's the bands strongest song and is used to close sets. The drumming is immaculate and bass is very heavy, with guitar work stopping and starting at different points in place with the vocal delivered with great effect. The track breaks in to a frenzy of noise, where effects come in to play, however the use of distortion is used minimally. The guitar riff is just simply amazing, nothing can be said about let downs or things they could improve because this song is just a perfect 10.
One of the most appreciated songs on the EP is entitled 'Billie Holliday'. This features a delicate acoustic guitar which entices the vocals provided by both singers. The light synth arrangement works well with the repeated acoustic guitar and light drumming with the bass drum and eventual snare. The track progresses with deeper drum work and separate vocal segments which are characteristic of Warpaint's debut album. The lack of song structure only adds to the excitement as you're not quite sure when the song will end, it leaves me wanting more, that;s after you realise the songs just shy of seven minutes.
Sang by the lead guitarist, 'Beetles' adds a whole new meaning of romanticism in music. beautiful synthetic vocals add to the sexy lyrics like "Let's get naked and rip down the wall that makes me crazy". The guitar work is spectacular, high notes are played in comparison with the rhythm guitarist, as dynamics kick in. The song slows down as the vocals fade and an instrumental piece occurs, with noted bass and synthesized distortion and small breaks before a little build up and vocal harmony. The tempo is pushed forward as the drumming begins to achieve great timing and the song continues where it began, repeating the opening lyrics with increased desperation from singer Theresa Wayman.
Warpaint have been compared to Scottish Gothic Rockers Cocteau Twins, for many reasons including the dark, gloomy atmosphere created with eerie vocals and reverbed guitar work. This is heard on the track 'Burgundy', which has a soft, sleepy feel to it. The bass is very relaxed and works with the style of music. It's very dark and has no form of structure, such as verse/chorus/verse. Some think this could be a disadvantage, but I see it as a way they can be separated from so many modern artists. Warpaint receive great acclaim from the lack of structure, this is because structure isn't needed in this form. This is a light form of Dream Pop with Psychedelic influences, it is what it is.
Final track 'Krimson' is a track for bass. The stand alone bass opens the song and is used as the base for the songs progression. The drumming stays close to the bass as the song moves forward and enters with synthesized strings and high pitched vocals. This song is more of a jam than anything, it doesn't give off much vibe, but it has that characteristic bass line and recognised lyrics like "I need a little room to sway". It finishes with some sped up drumming and slower bass to create a much lighter atmosphere. This is a strong track, but it doesn't give me much to remember other than the vocal and repetitive but respectable bass.
From the opening riff on Elephants to the vocal effects on Beetles, this EP is a great introduction on what Warpaint will become. For the average 'rock' fan, this will be hard to digest at first. The lack of song structure is heard, but great musical ability and dynamics shine strong. Vocals are shared by two strong singers who both play guitar like artists who have been playing for 40 years. Production sounds exactly as it's intended, with the bass being a little bit in your face. As a band they manage to show great friendship between each other both on record and on stage as seen with various live performance videos, such as the energetic jam at Glastonbury 2011. Warpaint, one for the future (hopefully).