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Album Review: Warpaint – Heads Up
Currently on their third studio album as a band and with their hands in several individual projects, Warpaint are well seasoned in experimenting with new sounds and creating genre defying music. With each new venture Warpaint openly challenge preconceptions on what an all-female band from radiant California should sound like. Having reunited early on in the year to work on a collaborative project, Heads Up is no exception to this rule as they’ve taken a step towards and airy and light record filled with influences stretches as far as R&B and dares to delve into the world of power pop.
The introductory track Whiteout sets the tone for the majority of the record. We’re immediately drawn into a mix of engaging vocals paired up with constantly moving bass lines that resonate sounds of alternative Scandinavian pop. This trend follows on through to what is currently gearing up to be their most commercially popular single New Song which favours a catchy repetitive chorus over the dark feminine sound which propelled the foursome into the limelight at the release of their first studio album The Fool.
For those who fear that this new direction has robbed the band of their ‘edge’ there isn’t much to worry about. The fourth track So Good signifies a break in the tone and pace of the album as it begins to draw on a wider range of Gothic influences. Reverting back to simplistic melodies, Don’t Let Go starts out with a striking riff which sees Warpaint revert back to a dependence on careful production, that allows for composition and haunting harmonies to take centre stage.
Contributing to the diversity of this record is Dre, which is undoubtedly an experiment in working with a lighter sound which successfully marries the band’s fascination with psychedelia and soothing R&B. Bassist and vocalist Jenny Linberg refers to Heads Up as “an evolution of our band” and this is without a doubt a true representation of the record. Although there is a slight shift away from a melancholic sound, Warpaint’s willingness to create without limitations brings a new sense of relaxed maturity to each project.