Warpaint- The Fool
Warpaint have taken a while with this their debut album proper, and while some may argue that the heat on the band has died down since the hype made them possibly the most namechecked and anticipated band of the end of 2009/2010, it takes you less than one song to appreciate the time we have all been waiting for this extraordinary album to come along. Without adding anything further "The Fool" is one of the effortlessly brilliant albums of 2010.
The gentle glide of "Set your arms down" opens with little more than a fractured guitar and simple drumbeats, before the graceful howl sets the song in motion, guitars growing in the background. It is painstakingly subtle whilst been lyrically blunt at the same time "They want to find me/They want to fight." While "Warpaint" opens with the pop stride of "How Soon is Now" before bewitchingly all with it's azure ray alike group vocal simplicity, and mathish guitar build, designed for repeated headphone enjoyable.
Nothing about "The Fool" is done without careful planning and plotting but everything glides beautifully as if the album was recorded in one take, its an uncomfortable beautiful listen with each song combining a shoegaze progression with the threat of maleviolent menace at any moment. The Fool references a few expected heroes within the songs, but underplays it so delicately that comparisons seem so incredibly lazy and useless that there is no time to speak of them here or anywhere else. "The Fool" takes a template and smashes it, piecing it back together with a downward soaring guitar, fade out drum machine samples and handclaps hidden under overlapping percussion. At times there is so much going on in the mix that it will take you several listens to fully appreciate the highs and lows it provides.
Because most importantly "The Fool" is an incredibly naked record, few tricks exist in the recording, and takes a lot of pride and it's subtle build in emotion. The vocals glide from near whispered to "you must listen" sensiblity. It's lyrically at times straight talking very difficult and accusing with "Undertow's" "Why you want to blame me for your troubles? You better learn your lesson yourself, nobody has to ever find out what's in my mind tonight." While "Baby" is strictly acoustic and once again reminisent of the work of Maria Taylor and Orenda Fink, pointing to the same lyrical strive and strengths of their work together and solo with the heartbreaking refrain "You live your life like a page from the book of my fantasies. Don't you call anyone else baby"
If there is one complaint, "The Fool" doesn't display much growth from the critically acclaimed Exquisite Corpse EP, but there really isn't any need, Warpaint emerged almost fully ready for this debut, and have now created an album which will be unlikely to leave your head for a hour from the moment your hear it until the day you die. "The Fool" is something beyond this universe and should be the final chapter in our recent obsession with stripped back female fronted chill wave, which its contemporaries Zola Jesus and even the talened Tamaryn could only dream of... 9.5/10