Warpaint (The Lost Posts: third and final)

Okay, here is the last post that I wrote up several months ago. I’m finally getting around to putting it up here.
I guess these young ladies are pretty popular now, so I doubt any of this will be new to many of you. I think I just read that Love Is To Die was featured on an episode of True Blood. I’ve never watched the show, but I know how fanatic some people are about it. Oh well, good for them.

This is totally unrelated, but any of you that might follow my IG account saw that Alex and I had an amazing record store bargain bin experience the other day and walked away with a huge stack of metal CD’s for less than a dollar a piece. Now when I say metal, I’m talking about real metal, not Metallica or any of that weird sing-songy new stuff that supposed metal fans are always listening to. Anyway, after I have had a thorough listen through all of them I will probably be writing up some stuff here for no one to read. (I know you read it Alex, but I think you are the only one.)

metal_detector

I have no idea where this is from, but it makes me giggle and is relevant to the above comments.


 

After waiting patiently for a new Warpaint release for so long, then very impatiently (The Fool was released in 2010), I got a little nervous about how a new album might sound. I feared the dreaded sophomore slump, plus the fact that there had been no news of a followup for so long was not giving me a lot of confidence in a new album, if one were to happen at all. Then they finally let out two official pre-release tracks from a new album, Biggy and Love Is To Die. With bated breath I listened to the aforementioned tracks, then hung my head in dismay. That’s it? I waited this long and this is it?

Don’t get me wrong the songs aren’t bad, I just think that I set my expectations far too high. When I first heard the Exquisite Corpse EP and the quickly following LP The Fool, I was excited, really excited. Unfortunately, years of listening and searching for new and lovely sounds creates a jaded ear. That is exactly why it filled me with such giddy anxiety (like waiting in line for a roller coaster) to listen to each song from the then newly discovered to me, Warpaint. I was so infatuated that I think I listened to the EP four times consecutively before I even considered putting something else on. Both the EP and LP stayed in fairly constant rotation at home and in the car for quite some time after that. The strange thing about those two releases is that in regard to the music, there isn’t exactly anything groundbreaking happening. There are in fact quite a few fairly obvious reference points, but not presented in such a manner as to make it feel like a rip-off, it’s quite the opposite. Instead the songs sound more like they have been constructed by musicians that truly love and appreciate their influences. When those influences shine through, rather than attempt to hide them, they are handled more as an homage to which the listeners can nod in appreciation along with them. But the handling is done with far more skill and far less kitsch than when people ham-handedly attempt to plaster their movies with references (read copies) to the movies they love and call it an homage, as happens so often with countless terrible horror movies. (I feared that others reading this might feel the same negative connotations from someone calling something an homage as much as I do. We aren’t talking about horror movies right now though, you don’t want to get me started on that or we’ll be here all day so I’ll get back to the point.) The songs are terribly catchy and sound as if they are songs that you have known and loved for years, yet you are hearing them for the first time. It was that good for me.

So I think you can understand my apprehension about listening to a new album, it couldn’t possibly create the same thing for me. Anyway, I got the new self-titled LP. While it cannot be for me what the first EP was, it is still quite good. I think they still have a bit of magic left in them, and maybe after getting the second album out of the way they can be relieved of some of that followup album tension (if they ever had it, I know I would. Lord knows, Jeff Buckley did.) When listened to as a whole, the album is far better than what the two singles suggested. I think one of the problems that I have with the album is not a fault with the songs themselves but with the production. It’s sometimes hard to put you finger on things like that, but if you put them side by side you can definitely hear the difference. The earlier recordings are more raw, befitting the songs, whereas this newer batch of recordings has been too polished which doesn’t work well for a non-technical band that obviously doesn’t have a lot of vocal training. It’s an unfortunate side effect of getting more studio money for big name producers I guess. For one thing, they’ve all but entirely lost the dark, airy, atmospheric 4ADness that was so prevalent on that first EP, and turned it into a Coldplay album. It’s good, but they’ve taken some of the steam out of it for me. Just listen to Bees or Elephants from the two previous releases, then listen to either of the singles for Warpaint, neither of the tracks from Warpaint are the standouts that either of those two previous tracks are.

Yes, that is Theresa Wayman, the bathtub suicide girl who kills herself over Sean Bateman in The Rules of Attraction.

Who knows maybe neither were yet ready for release, but I would have put out Drive or Son, the album closers, as singles before either of the ones that they did. Or maybe I’m just saying that because that is what is playing now as I am typing this.

Okay, so after scanning back through, I was definitely just saying that because it was what was playing, haha. I like them, but that doesn’t mean that they have the oomph and marketability that the single picking guy is looking for in a single. But I really do think that I would have chosen Hi in lieu of one of the two that were released, probably Biggy.

Enough of my blathering. Listen to it and form your own opinion.

If there is any confusion from that mess I just wrote, I am recommending Warpaint – S/T, I just can’t say it’s an essential listen. And who knows, if you are unfamiliar with them, then maybe it’s better to start here and work back to the older material. Just make sure you actually do get to the older material.

 

 

— JS


 

I’m throwing this in here just for fun because I am an eternal fan of Duran Duran and this song in particular, regardless of what anyone else may think of them.

3 thoughts on “Warpaint (The Lost Posts: third and final)

  1. I was really disappointed in the new warpaint album. I’ve listened to the record several times, but I still skip over the songs when they come up on the iPod shuffle. Oh well, I still listen to all of the old stuff.
    Oh yeah, we need to go in search of more bargain metal since last time was a bust.

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