Exquisite Corpse EP
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WARPAINT Exquisite Corpse (2009 US Manimal 6-track CD EP including Stars Elephants Billie Holiday and Beetles. Housed in a digipak picture sleeve - still factory sealed from new MANI-017)
Offering only six tracks, this introduction to Los Angeles quartet Warpaint is unlikely to initially represent value for money to many, given it retails at a price comparable to many full-length albums these days. But such is the impression left by one listen to Exquisite Corpse that it’s perfectly pitched: it’s an enticing taste, one that absolutely leaves the listener craving more. A bargain at twice the price.
The band’s sound will appeal effortlessly to anyone swept up in the understated splendour of The xx’s silence-celebrating compositions – just like the young Londoners, Warpaint respect the balance between stirring (yet soothing) sounds and their surrounding stillness. Contrast is everything, and they perform these songs while exhibiting the sort of restraint-embracing sensibilities that will set them in good stead for an album proper in 2010. It’s a magical brew, familiar yet wonderfully fresh to ears repeatedly beaten by noisy newcomers mistaking media attention for ability.
Opener Stars is all spectral, frail vocals and a guitar that echoes through the dark like a voice from an otherworldly dimension – its sound is somehow detached from the present, as if the preserved indentation of something more solid. It’s gorgeous and simply constructed, its percussive pulse barely registering beneath lapping washes of beauteous melody. Elephants is brasher, but even at their most boisterous Warpaint respect control, underpinning bassline repetition keeping their aim straight and true.
The real show-stopper is Billie Holiday, where the band take the central lyrical hook from Mary Wells’ Motown hit My Guy and thread it through an arrangement that borrows its haunting qualities from such similarly arresting efforts as Telepathe’s Can’t Stand It and Cat Power’s The Greatest. The influential singer of its title would no doubt approve of such an impossibly tender, deeply affecting song bearing her name. It’s one of those calling-card tracks that can make or break a band – like Chairlift’s Bruises, or José Gonzáles’ cover of The Knife’s Heartbeats. Only the (near) future, though, will tell if it leads to greater things for its makers.
Hopefully it will, as this listener for one is now primed for a full album of this wonderful fare. Fingers crossed, but at the same time if Warpaint were hurried to a debut long-player it could adversely affect their splendid slightness. Here’s hoping they’re willing to play a patient game, just as The xx were. Both are terribly delicate, but equally mightily talented. --Mike Diver
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Top Customer Reviews
Note that this physical EP also has a bonus track, 'Krimson'.
the best thing about warpaint is the way their songs do not follow the generic song structure, but often change suddenly. however this does not make the songs dissjointed, it makes them intricate and fascinating.
the style of the music is nothing new, but the songs are excellent. the harmonies are haunting and it all feels overwhelmingly genuine.
"Warpaint" their full length cd is also brilliant. i would recomend purchasing both, listen to them a few times and i promise you will love them.
Warpaint are three young ladies from Los Angeles who used to be four until the rigorous demands of Hollywood plucked their drummer from their midst. A replacement came easily as the band had John Frusciante on board to mix the debut. Drawing widespread and merely tip-of-the-iceberg-type comparisons to Chan Marshall of Cat Power fame, Warpaint slowly worked themselves out of Hollywood and into hipster acclaim. Their six tracks never rush, happy in restraint and always comfortable in taking longer than strictly necessary to make their point.
Exquisite Corpse floats around the space it creates. The chilly vocal encroaches on Beach House country. The simple guitar echoes as iconic lifts ebb and flow. Plodding spookily, "Beetles" wakes with one minute to go contorting into a sultry bass line. The tempo is again upped for "Elephants" and the vocal momentarily quivers under treatment . The lengthy "Billie Holiday" borrows the lyrics from the Motown classic "My Guy" and proceeds to leave them outside to shiver in the cold while folk-ish acoustic guitar plucks away frostily.
If this track makes them then it will be at the expense of the under-rated Mechanical Bride who perfected this glacial waltz with 2008's Part II Eps. Either way, "Billie Holiday" is neither cover nor tribute and whilst Warpaint may lift, they are nevertheless decidedly unto themselves.
Elephants was the first song i heard, and thought it was amazing. The slightly distorted vocals are brilliantly topped only by the instrumental sections. Elephants though is only one part of this 6 part EP, with each song complementing the other perfectly. Their sound is an acquired sound that for some could take a few listens to get into, but if you simply like well composed, well produced records with hint of "I did this in my bedroom" then this is brilliant. Though the songs are fairly slow, they have a vibe that takes you to a summer place.
I bought their album "The Fool" first, which is seemingly in the wrong order, but purchasing this is the perfect partner for their full album, and the progression is already apparent.
A highly recommended piece from an under rated band.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fabulous band, great short album. Eventually went back and filled the back-catalogue. Now got to get JennyLee.Published 4 months ago by GraeSaint
In the LP Cover there was a small bent, so the cover does not look like new. But never the less the music is good.Published on 28 Mar. 2014 by Timon Langenhuijsen
Overall I'm a very big fan of warpaint, great album! The product came fine with no damages and was happy with the product when it arrived.Published on 17 Jun. 2013 by Jade-