Warpaint experiment with Heads Up

Heads UpWarpaint's long awaited third album, Heads Up, comes after a year-long break from the project to pursue solo projects in 2015. But it’s as if the Los Angeles indie rock band never diverged from their path, with Heads Up flooding back memories of their critically acclaimed rich and textured sound.

This album, unlike the previous two, was recorded by members individually in the studio, allowing for creative freedom to blossom on its own. You’d think this would create a disjointed album, especially considering their break from the band this past year. However it surprisingly sounds more collected and mature, seamlessly delving into even more layers of musicality with a slightly grunge edge.

The purity Warpaint are renowned for is best described as an echoic and haunting vocal paired with a soothing melody, which they don’t stray too far from on Heads Up. Though this time around, there’s definitely a heavier and more defined drum with forceful vocals driving the album to somewhere more upbeat. Heads Up shows the four-piece are not afraid to experiment with more unusual melodies and compositions, really playing with tempos which range from pre-party warm up to hangover-soothing.

Opener “Whiteout” steps a toe into funk-laced waters, with a solitary drum beat gliding into the lustrous melody that Warpaint have hallmarked. They offer hints of their ghostly vocal before superseding them with pop tones that they’ve never really strayed into previously.

The pace picks up for duly named new song and lead single from the album, “New Song”, diving into the pop realm with summery tones and a super catchy chorus. The upbeat track firmly casts off their atmospheric air and is their most eclectic song to date; an experiment that pays off well, proving that Warpaint aren’t just a one-trick pony.

Moving through the album, there’s fluctuations between indie rock, psychedelic rock and art pop, alternating between slow and bubbly. “So Good” sways towards the latter, paying homage to the 90s with a distortion-laden vocal and melodic structure somewhere in-between No Doubt and All Saints. The emotional and ethereal vocal may have taken a back seat but it’s still present, especially in closing track, “Today Dear”. The atmospheric song is stripped bare, reminiscent of some of their earlier songs from The Fool. It ends the album with ambience and delicacy, harking back to their roots.

Moving away from the pure, lustrous and beautiful that Warpaint first portrayed with The Fool in 2010, Heads Up demonstrates that their rich and textured tapestry can bleed into different genres. Their smooth transitions between up tempo and soothing tracks show a step out of their ghostly comfort zone into a mature and collected range of styles and melodies. Whether it’s dream pop, art pop, indie rock or psychedelic rock, it’s certainly bound to make heads turn.

Release: 23rd September 2016, Rough Trade Records

 
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