Sunday, July 20, 2014

Album Review: Warpaint - Warpaint (2014)

LA-based indie rockers Warpaint first crossed my radar a few years back when I heard their inspired cover of David Bowie's 'Ashes to Ashes', and a superb track called 'Undertow', which was a single off the band's full-length debut The Fool. I never got around to picking up a copy of The Fool, but that initial exposure to Warpaint left a big enough impression for me to grab a download of the band's eponymous second album when it was released earlier this year.

Produced by Flood and mixed by Nigel Godrich, the second album has proven to be a marked success, propelling the all girl group into a whole other stratosphere from the humble origins of the low key debut – as their recent raved-about appearance at Glastonbury would tend to indicate. Warpaint, it seems, is one of the "buzz" bands of 2014, and one that offers yet more evidence that no longer is there any line between what we once called indie, and what now amounts to commercial pop, class of 2014. But I'm personally not so sure I get what all the fuss is about.

There's not really a lot wrong with the album - it's essentially lush dark atmospheric pop music, not too dissimilar to the more commercial variant offered by the Cocteau Twins all those years back. In fact you could argue that all of the album’s strongest moments have a soft-rock retro crossover feel about them.

Buzz gurls

But as much as I've tried to get on board with it, as many times as I've given it "another chance" by giving it another spin, I'm quite bored by it. It's all just a bit bland.  It ticks many of the boxes; it’s well produced, as you'd expect from a production dream team, there’s nothing offensive about it (to damn with faint praise), it’s just that nothing on the album really grabs me, nothing really screams out … "listen again" ... so, the truth is … I probably won't.

Highlights: it certainly feels like all of the best moments occur in the first half of the 12-track album – say, 'Keep It Healthy', 'Love Is To Die', and 'Biggy'. 
This is a great little clip and one that catches the band in an almost perfect light:

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