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4.6 out of 5 stars32
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 13 July 2011
Will 2011 be the year of the true indie female artiste? I'm not talking about Adele, Lily, Florence, Duffy or Rumer here, but the truly creative and strong making their own music the way they want. This is a torch that PJ Harvey has had to bare herself for too long. Well no more as artistes such as Anna Calvi and Lykke Li powered into 2011 ploughing their own and very distinctive furrows. Running with them now is all girl combo Warpaint. The problem (or good thing) is that with Harvey reaching a new zenith with "Let England Shake", Calvi's stunning eponymous debut and Li's inventive powerhouse "Wounded Rhymes" the bar has been set very high indeed, but it is a bar that Warpaint's "The Fool" clears albeit with a bit of a trailing leg.

Formed in LA by Oregon childhood friends Emily Kokal and Teresa Wayman (both vocals and guitar) with Jenny Lee Lindburg (bass), Warpaint have been around for quite some years, but only now with the addition of Ausi Stella Mozgawa on drums do they have an established complete line-up. I don't know, or even care if Mozgawa was brought in to keep it "all girl", but they certainly haven't compromised: the musicianship is top notch.

From the go, with "Set down your arms" its about mood, and the mood is ethereal. I am not talking gloopy Cocteau Twins or Mostly Autumn here, this has a dangerous edgyness to it. This album is certainly best appreciated as an entity, and is not for cherry picking, "Composure", for example sounds awkward on its own, but as the midpoint of "The Fool" it sounds perfect. In fact in the context of the opus, every single track is very strong. This is Warpaint's very own sound, gaining in confidence and daring from the more accessible EP Exquisite Corpse they have moved further in their own direction. Kokal and Wayman's ghostly harmonies and guitar styles work superbly with Jenny Lee Lindberg's intricate bass and Mozgawa's clever rhythms to establish the right feeling in the listener. The album is so beautifully constructed that by the end the band's own distinctive sound becomes very accessible and rewarding. And that trailing leg, the vocals from both girls sometimes don't quite work for me, however it is an occasional and mostly insignificant flaw that detracts little from the enjoyment.
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on 29 April 2014
If there were ever an album to outline the importance of listening more than just once to reveal the true quality of the music, this would be the it. After one listen you could be forgiven for comparing the soothing sound with tracks such as 'Bat for lashes - Daniel' and possibly bits of 'the XX' but once you reach about 4 full albums plays you'll realise there's more to it than that.

'Set your arms down' perfectly sets the tone of the album; the delicate bassline accompanied by such dreamy vocals has a lovely soothing quality. In ‘Warpaint’ the album really gets going with an unusual but incredibly precise rhythm and bassline with a quality only Radiohead’s ‘Reckoner’ can match. Keep listening on and you’ll find every track to be perfectly placed to create a strangely hypnotic aura with a quality that only seems to ever improve with more listens.

This is not an album to cherry pick your favourite track, you must only ever play it in full. Take a quiet evening, dim the lights, put on some high quality headphones and lose yourself in the ethereal sound. Stick with it, it’s worth it.
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on 3 July 2013
At first listen it doesn't quite suck you in as their debut EP 'Exquisite Corpse' did but after a few spins in a different way grabs it does. Opener 'Set Your Arms Down' has a beautiful exquisite sound "we walk through fire.... my love is your flashlight....they want to fight me". 2nd track 'Warpaint' continues this free form dual jangle guitar background and floating dreamy vocals. These ladies are ready to fight. Next 'Undertow' released as a 7" vinyl is one of the catchiest here "what's the matter you hurt yourself open your eyes & there was someone else" but is in fact not the best. 'Bees' stumbles along seemingly with less purpose but there is beauty here which unfolds after further plays "how long did it take to get yourself straight" and emerges as a compelling piece (nice guitar backdrop). Then the melancholy of 'Shadows' combining lurching acoustic guitar & heavenly keyboards & vocals is dream pop at its very best with machine gun drum fill injections "with my hand in my pocket, I feel like a shadow". Emily has a strong vocal. 'Composure' shades of folk psych & controversial lyrics "how can I keep my composure with the clit cut". Yes well interesting :o) 'Baby' is a very gentle wistful acoustic number which takes you floating & shows a different side & is a break from their classic approach "You speak your view" "Don't you call anyone else baby.....because I'm your baby still" . 'Majesty' is again a gentle piece & a love song "When I held your hand you still went the other way" "I adore your face" "You could have been my king" more riveting majestic sounds - with bubbling synth & hypnotic guitar. 'Lissies Heart Murmurs' ends as the album began, that is with exquisite floating dreamy sounds. Nice one ladies.
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Warpaints' track "Undertow" has been placed on so many music blogs over the past few months that a referral to the Monopolies Commission would have been in order. Rough Trades' further decision to stream this new album on the huge music blog aggregator Hype Machine means that this album is well trailed and on the evidence of the music brilliantly constructed and produced.

Warpaint are female rock group from Los Angeles comprising Emily Kokal (vocals/guitar), Theresa Wayman (vocals/guitar), Jenny Lee Lindberg (bassist/vocals), and Stella Mozgawa (drums/keyboards). "The Fool" is their debut album hot on the heels of 2009s EP "Exquisite corpse" and a very nice separate cover of David Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes". This band defies stereotypes and "The Fool" is no LA blast of summer fun like the joyous recent product of their contemporaries Best Coast, indeed you sense that P. J. Harvey LPs may have been strewn around the recording studio.

While Warpaint smear their influences on their sleeves the fact remains that they are pretty much impeccable as sources. Combine this with the fact they inhabit a space which is not sardine packed with bands and their musical slant is wholly intoxicating. The aforementioned single "Undertow" is jammed full of nuance that hints at Nirvana and the Pixies and yet is distinctive enough to stand as a great song in its own right. The style is very sweet and yet has a icy skeletal quality to it which makes them a much darker prospect that say Beach House, but at the same time both bands still retain a dreamy pop quality. Opener "Set your arms down" confirms this and steadily builds through a tidal bass to five minutes plus of glorious atmosphere psychedelica, jam packed with ghostly vocals and tight harmonies. Even more darkly sinister is the wonderful "Majesty" a six minute slow burner full of protruding electronic warps and a bass straight out of the Kim Deal handbook. It frankly makes our London chums the XX sound just a bit safe and signals the arrival of a very exciting prospect. The vocals in "Composure" start off almost as a playground chant in the distance (indeed I thought someone was shouting up the stairs when I first heard it) but moves into a clipped guitar workout with echoes of the Cure given equal prominence in the mix with Telow's vocals.

There is more to this band however than meets the eye as evidenced by two great highlights the ethereal piano driven ballad "Lizzies'' Heart Murmur" a shimmering slice of pop music which suggests cinematic slow core soundscapes. Similarly the beautiful show stealing acoustic song "Baby" is so sparse you feel it could break but expands gently over four minutes into a lovely piece sung with true grace by Telow and which will resonate with all who listen.

Warpaint have produced in "The Fool" a mercurial debut album which cries out for your attention. It is a brazenly confident piece of work and for a first major outing characterised by a welcome absence of foolishness. Rough Trade has discovered something here which is very special and Warpaint are one of the rock revelations of the year.
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on 24 June 2011
Warpaint are a 1960's inspired psychedelic indie band from Los Angeles. Jangly guitars, dreamy vocals, all underpinned by the bass of Lindberg and the robotic drums of Mozgawa.

Warpaint still seem at times to be in the process of crafting their art, they are certainly not stuck in the 1960's and produce intelligent indie rock. At times it's very indie and psychedelic that for some it's going to be hard to listen.

The overall tone of the album is gloomy and it's hard to find glimmers of happiness but then that's not what buying here. The tracks are all mid-paced to slow. Read other reviews and they got this album on the single Undertow to be honest I enjoyed tracks like Bees and Shadows, even the guitar/vocal track Baby and the synth washes of Majesty.

Studio albums can be over-produced, as I would say has happened with the latest releases from The Killers and Interpol. With this debut Warpaint have basically kept their 4 piece live sound with very minimal added synth/piano which I hope they try and keep as time progresses.

Overall, it a very good release from a new interesting band and worth buying if you like something a little different.
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on 19 July 2011
Having grown up on mainly 80's indie music I really have very little knowledge of new indie bands.Well most of us would have heard of coldplay in todays post 2000 music world but occasionally a few bands get a break. A couple of fine examples of this are the boxer rebellion and warpaint.Warpaint are an american all girl indie band and this album after listening to it a couple of times has been well done. The songs are generally long (6 mins) and what struck me was the great guitar work and original drum beat which is not your usual base snare drum combination. You get 9 tracks and she sings quite well,(well some indie bands lets just say not all singers have good voices but they pull it off well because of the indie style of the music so its ok anyway.)If you like indie music this may be the one for you ,the girls really do pull it off well and its a change from all those bands that you are used to. Go for it i say.
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on 25 February 2012
What a great album! Mellow indie with off-kilter harmonies and ethereal guitar lines. It reminds me a lot of early 'Lush' and other shoegazers, but there's definitely more than a little Nirvana here - right down to the 'what's the matter/you hurt yourself' borrowed from Polly in 'undertow'

I liked it the first time I heard it, but I know it's a good album when different songs jump out at me at different times. 'Shadows' is currently my favourite. This track inparticular showcases what a good rhythm section the band has with Stella thumping along imaginatively.

Few indie fans would be disappointed with this in their collection. It's familiar but refreshingly different. Looking forward to their next.
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on 3 November 2011
I first heard Warpaint on the bbc Glastonbury videos this summer, bought the CD (and EP)on a hunch and haven't regretted it. If you're not sure go to their website - there are lots of freebies you can access to help you make up your mind but the album is great. Not sure I could name all the tracks as they seems to merge togehter but Warpaint, Undertow, (easiest to get into) Bees and Lizzies Heart Murmer stand out. Actually so do Baby, Set Your Arms Down and Composure. I love the melodic bass guitar and the vocal harmonies, I love the abstract lyrical sound and the frequent changes of rythmn or direction. No idea what the lyrics are about but the dream like quality is fabulous!
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on 15 October 2011
I bought the CD on the strength of one track and rather wished I hadn't. Lovely and melodious, female indie rock - does what it says on the tin, but a bit sappy for me.
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on 26 June 2011
Never have I heard a band that paint emotions with such pin sharp precision.

I first clocked Warpaint on Jools Holland and was immediately hypnotized. Amazon was the next stop and I ordered The Fool. All of the songs hold your interest from the start and just grow on you with each listen.

What I love is how all of the band are playing for the song, no outlandish solos or bang crash NOTICE ME type drumming. Intricate, delicate, beautiful and emotionally powerful stuff.

Buy it and dance off into the summer evening sunset.
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