Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Album Review: Warpaint's The Fool

There is almost no way this album wasn’t going to be good. Songs like “Billie Holiday” and “Elephants” have already proved that Warpaint is a band I need to be listening to. The Fool, Warpaint’s debut full-length, recreates the experience I had when I went to see the band perform at Mercury Lounge over the summer. It’s total zone-out music. I get the feeling that when these girls play together they all travel to the same cosmic plane where they can anticipate each other’s moves. As listeners, we are lucky if we can meet them halfway.

Full self-disclosure: this album transports me to about 6th grade, when my girlfriends and I fell in love with the move The Craft and as a result spent a lot more time at Native American stores, lighting candles, and listening to The Cranberries. But this disc is way more mellow, moody, and introspective. It was a natural move to have Warpaint open for The xx. This is the perfect album to listen to with the lights turned off.

Warpaint solidifies The Fool early on with the song from which they took their name, “Warpaint.” Listening to the song while putting on my makeup in the mornings or as I’m walking to work does make me feel as though I’m prepping for battle but in an ultra-strong and feminine way. First single “Undertow” follows, easily the most radio-friendly song on the record. The “battle cry” motif I’m hearing continues with the beautiful opening to stand-out track “Composure,” which echoes an African/bluesey chant.

“Baby” is brilliant. It makes me wonder what sounds these girls hear in the silence that I don’t even know to listen for. And not that the lyrics of the other songs aren’t great, but the sparse instrumentation and whispered delivery here really allow the words to stab you right in the heart. “You live your life like a page from the book of my fantasy,” is superb.

For me, the hardest thing about writing about music is having to compare bands to other bands. This is especially difficult because the bands I enjoy writing about the most don’t sound like anyone else. Warpaint is totally one of those acts that are almost impossible (at least for me) to categorize. That’s the best thing about them.

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