By Jason Grishkoff | December 21st, 2009
Warpaint are a band whose name is being increasingly dropped around the internet, and upon my first listen through their EP, I decided that it needed to be dropped some more. So here goes: Warpaint are a Los Angeles based psychedelic/shoegaze band formed in 2007, who have notable press from the late Heath Ledger, Billy Zane, and also from John Frusciante under their belts. In fact, it is John Frusciante who produced their debut release Exquisite Corpse for Manimal Vinyl earlier this year. The connection comes through their drummer/keyboardist Josh Klinghoffer, who is known for his numberous collaborations with Frusciante, and has played as a session musician for a whole host of bands including Neon Neon, PJ Harvey and Frusciante himself. The resulting album is not a morbid affair as its title suggests, but does evoke some quite negative themes using dark, ethereal instrumentation.
The music is beautiful and most of the time very downbeat – I call it shoegaze mainly because, while the songs never melt down into a total haze, a typical Warpaint track starts off in almost complete silence, before ethereality ascends and surrounds. The music verges on ambient, and aside from the drums, the only piercing noises in the whole arrangement are the stunning vocals of Jenny Lee Lindberg, Emily Kokal, and Theresa Wayman. Time rolls along, and the tracks, which typically stand at about 5 to 6 minutes in length, feel like lo-fi summer folk songs draped in the cold of the autumn and onset of winter. The more you listen to this band the more you are drawn in, and what might seem like nothing particularly engaging, works extremely hard for your appreciation. Like many bands of this year, Warpaint are doing more with less. You can file this one next to Holly Miranda in terms of sound – and keep an eye on both artists in terms of 2010 success. Warpaint are playing dates early next year in the US with Yeasayer and Akron/Family. So if you’re lucky enough to live in Texas – paying a visit to one of these shows is a must.