Warpaint: Warpaint – [Record 25]
Warpaint: is the eponymous second studio album by the American indie rock band Warpaint, released on January 17, 2014 on Rough Trade Records. Produced by Flood and the band itself, the album was preceded by the single, “Love Is to Die”.
Record 1. Side 1.
2, Keep It HEalthy
3, Love Is To Die
Record 1. Side 2.
8, Go In.
Record 2. Side 1.
9, Feeling Alright.
Composition: In an interview with NME in September 2011, drummer Stella Mozgawa affirmed that Warpaint planned to “experiment and write with one another” to develop the songs on Warpaint as their current lineup had never composed songs “from the ground up” together. Bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg elaborated on the composition of new material, explaining most songs were written by “just jam[ming] and free-flow[ing] onstage”. Guitarist Theresa Wayman confirmed that the band intended to create a minimalist sound on Warpaint, revealing that the band developed songs at soundchecks, and experimented more with acoustic guitars and percussion instruments on the album. Lead vocalist Emily Kokal noted that R&B and rap music was an influence on Warpaint and stated that on the album there are “things that have drum machines and ambience, music that’s more than standard rock.” Kokal added that the album is largely keys-based, which contributed to the overall sound being “definitely different” from the band’s previous album The Fool (2010).
Release: Warpaint was released in Germany, Ireland, Netherlands and Switzerland on January 17, 2014; January 20 in Denmark, France, Sweden and the United Kingdom; and January 21 in Spain and the United States on Rough Trade Records. It was released in Japan on January 22 on Hostess Entertainment, with two bonus tracks featured on the CD release. A snippet of the album’s lead single, “Love Is to Die”, was featured in an advertisement for Calvin Klein on September 25, 2013 and later as part of a teaser for an upcoming documentary of the same name about the recording of Warpaint. The single was released on October 28 with pre-ordered digital versions of the album. Warpaint was released on a number of formats, including CD, colored double LP and as a digital download. Autographed posters and stencils were issued free with the first 1,000 LP and CD pre-orders from the band’s online store.
In support of the album, Warpaint are commencing on a 23-date, three-leg international tour. The first leg, a European tour, began on October 28, 2013 at O2 ABC in Glasgow, Scotland and concluded on November 16 at the Crossing Border Festival in The Hague, Netherlands. A five-date set of performances at Laneway Festival in Australia is due to begin on January 31, 2014 and conclude on February 8, with Warpaint performing in various cities including Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle. The final leg will commence on February 19 at the O2 Academy in Leeds, England and conclude on March 1 at Aula Magna in Lisbon, Portugal. During the tour preceding Warpaint’s release, the band debuted several of the album’s songs, including “Keep It Healthy”, “Hi” and “Love Is to Die”.
Reception: Upon its release, Warpaint received critical acclaim. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 74, based on 39 reviews, indicating “generally favorable reviews”. Alternative Press reviewer Brian Shultz rated the album three-and-a-half stars out of five and stated that “Warpaint still yields an enjoyable, haunting outpouring of whispered emotional damage and spatial exploration.” Writing for Clash, Daisy Jones referred to the album as “devastatingly brooding as ever”, noting that “Warpaint have always managed to make music to totally submerge yourself in, like an oil painting mixed with blood, and this album is no exception” and awarded Warpaint an eight out of ten score. Jazz Monroe of Drowned in Sound rated Warpaint six out of ten, calling the material “virtuosic and exquisite” while describing the lyrical content as “romantic but unglamorous … [and the band] take their time to reflect love’s ambiguity.” Monroe summarized that “while a gentler, more complex thing, [Warpaint] leans hard on atmosphere and collapses, elegantly.” In his review for The Guardian, Alexis Petridis rated the album three out of five stars and was initially critical, stating Warpaint had an “overall atmosphere so subdued it makes Love Is to Die sound like the Vengaboys’ cover of Hot Hot Hot.” He later stated that “patience and time reveal that to be a false first impression, at least in part” and summarized that “there’s something impressively brave about releasing an album that demands time and concentration … Warpaint slowly pulls you into its own, quietly captivating world.” The Quietus writer Mof Gimmers referred to Warpaint as “a record spun with a rich synthetic ambience, resulting in a curious mixture of the pleasant and uneasy” and said that the songs “exude an intense, intoxicated arousal, with lip-fattening blood rushes, grotty cinematic witching-hour horniness and David Lynchian daydream fucks” in his positive review.
In DIY’s review of Warpaint, El Hunt awarded the album four out of five stars. Hunt stated that “The Fool was wonderfully muddied and submerged, while Warpaint zooms for the stratosphere”, further praising Flood’s production on the album as well as referring to Warpaint’s “subtle handle of tone” as “magical.” Writing for FACT, John Cavert considered Warpaint as “richer in atmosphere, sharper [and] artistically decisive” than the band’s debut album. He rated the album three-and-a-half out of five stars and drew comparisons between Warpaint’s material and Radiohead’s Kid A (2000), The Raincoats and Delta 5. Chase Woodruff of Slant Magazine rated Warpaint three out of five stars, commending its “complex, operatic highs” and “subdued, ethereal sound” but concluding “its experiments in minimalism and tranquility make for some awfully low lows”.
AllMusic writer Heather Phares awarded Warpaint four out of five stars, writing that there was a “undeniably darker cast” to the album’s songs in contrast to the band’s previous releases. Referring to Warpaint as “expansive and envelopin”, Phares selected “Love Is to Die”, “Teese” and “Feeling Alright” as highlights of the album. In a 9 out of 10 review for NME, Eve Barlow noted that “if The Fool presented them as ethereal hippies with musical nous, Warpaint drives them forward as masters of their talent”, describing the material as having a “crisper, more direct sound.”