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Album Review
The Fool

The Fool
by Warpaint

Rough Trade

Review Date
3rd November 2010
Reviewed by
Vincent Michaelsen

Warpaint are a terribly idyllic band, four young and enchanting women who could rightly challenge the Sirens in their ability to lure men (and woman) to their doom with beguiling songs of deathly beauty. Not only are they just a tad seductive, but like their apparent influences Cat Power and PJ Harvey, they are making some damn good music. I may be getting a little carried away here, but not overly so. The L.A based quartet have released their much anticipated debut album after forming six years ago. Since the release of their critically acclaimed 2009 E.P Exquisite Corpse and the band’s signing to Rough Trade, the group have sharpened their line-up with the addition of Stella Mozgawa on drums and have tour-honed their sound, bringing about the creation of a tight and fearsome first album.

With the opening track ‘Set Your Arms Down’ we hear the true essence of The Fool, namely, strong melodic bass lines backed by super sharp drum beats, dreamy yet chilling ever changing vocal melodies and drifting guitars lines which produce a spooky depth to the tracks and occasionally stand out with a Johnny Marr-esque brightness. ‘Undertow’ is the hit of the album, it’s unnerving lyrics and stubborn pace draw parallels with Nirvana’s ‘Polly’. As Kokal sings “What’s the matter, you hurt yourself?” the words come across as cool and somewhat indifferent towards her subject, and as she casually warns ‘You’re better not to light that fire, it’ll take you to the darkest place of the weather’ you know who’s in control here. In the final third of the album the guard is brought down with ‘Baby’. The acoustic ditty is an unabashed schoolgirl love song, which stands out with less of a studio feel yet the track broadens the range of the album and feels somewhat anticipated.

The album carries a similar tune to it’s predecessor, Exquisite Corpse. While a more consistent and whole piece of work, the album lacks the highs of the E.P, like sexy art-punk ‘Beetles’ and the raw drive of ‘Elephants’. In exchange the L.P has clinical accuracy, baleful mystery and naturally, more songs- which when they are good, is a most desirable quality. Though a welcome relief from the myriad of no-fi Californian acts currently ruling the musical underground, The Fool may not be that album you have never heard anything like before but neither does the it rely on nostalgic hooks to pull it through. I like it and I wont be missing the band live.


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